Two children are sexually abused in Colombia every hour, the country’s Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday.
The office made the claim based on data compiled between January and September of this year, for a total of 10,442 cases.
Of the total cases, 83% of the victims were female with almost half of them being between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. The majority of male victims were abused between the ages of five and nine years old.
Child sex abuse per age group
Angela Rosales, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Colombia, stated that families have the capability to teach their children their rights in order to prevent these incidents.
The data also shows that me majority of abuses are perpetrated “by a member of the family or in the household.” Just under 50% of the alleged perpetrators were family members. The abuse was perpetrated by someone the child lived with in 40% of the cases. This means that the family may not have an incentive to educate the children on their rights. It may be a factor in another problem: the institute estimates that its data only represents about 30% of actual abuses that took place in Colombia this year.
The report noted that this represents a failure of the family to be the primary protectors of their children. Angela Rosales called on families “to guarantee clear elements of communication and to teach the children about their bodies, rights, emotions, and healthy relationships.” The study added to this by pointing out that steps need to be taken to address family violence and issues that lead to abuses of all kinds.
The study recognized that cases of sexual abuse occur all over the country, but compiled a ranking of the 10 departments with the highest occurrences. Bogota ranks highest with more than double the cases of abuse of next department, Antioquia. Valle del Cauca is close to Antioqua with just over 900 cases. These three represent almost 60% of all cases in the top ten departments.