CHILDREN deserve a special level of protection from community leaders and community groups, says Police Commissioner Matthew Varley.
Mr Varley made this comment following the recent alleged rape incident that happened at Sikaiana Island in the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) on two 13-year-old girls
“Sexual assault against any person, young girls or grown women is equally abhorrent and is equally an offence,” Mr Varley said.
He told journalists at his weekly conference on Thursday there is a special distaste in the community for any sexual offence against children.
“Children deserve a special level of protection from community leaders and community groups.
“The idea that anyone would assault and target a young child is outrages and I have spoken very strongly about that before on many occasions last year.
“It is no secret that Solomon Islands has a very high rate of sexual assaults or seem to have a very high percentage of young women who are subject to sexual offences throughout the course of their lives.”
Mr Varley said a study by the World Health Organisations some years ago has indicated that Solomon Islands has the highest rate of sexual violence against women in the world.
“I hope that situation is improving.”
He added that given the number of cases we have seen recently, he is concern that situation is not improving.
“What I would say is that we have improved dramatically over the years in a capacity as police to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
“We have also seen a very good increase in community support in those crimes coming forward and being reported.
“Once perhaps in the past people were keeping these crimes quiet in communities.”
Mr Varley said that is certainly not the way for us to tackle this problem together as a country.
“We have done a lot of work in Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) not only with our Family Protection Act (FPA) training, sexual assault investigation training, our forensic training and our victim care training.
“We have also done a lot of work to make sure our officers are taking a very strong stance against these cases.”
The police chief added that they cannot act unless they know about the case and unless people come forward.
“But I am committed to making sure we do everything we can to protect young children and young girls in this country.”
Mr Varley said his message is they need community’s help and that enough is enough.
“I need leaders, I need chiefs, I need strong men to stand up in their community and say no more, no violence against women and girls in our country.”
In addition to that, Supervising Assistant commissioner for National Capital Solomon Sisimia said sexual assaults offence has been dormant for many years and now people are coming forward to report cases.
“This is because police are giving out more information with other stakeholders that this crimes are not accepted and it is not accepted by the law as well,” he said
Mr Sisimia added people are now coming forward to report cases unlike in the past where they don’t do that.
“We appreciate people for doing that.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN