Over 61,000 crimes recorded in Sierra Leone – CHRDI calls for police action

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 January 2018

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International – CHRDI says it condemns the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) for failing to control the rising spate of serious crimes, such as murder, rape, sexual assault, and other forms of domestic violence in the country. It is calling on the police to step up action to curb this scourge.

Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI says it has evidence showing that over 3,362  women and girls across Sierra Leone have experienced rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced marriage, human trafficking, and other forms of violence within the last 24 months.

According to the information received by CHRDI,  the Family Support Unit recorded 11,362 cases in 2016, compared to 10,940 cases in 2015.

Of the reported cases, there were 9,135 Domestic Violence cases, 2149 Sexual Penetration, and 78 rape cases. (Photo: Abdul Fatoma of CHRDI).

In comparison, the figures for 2015 showed 8,043 cases involving Domestic Violence, Sexual Penetration – 2,398 cases, and 103 Rape cases. Violence against women is still widespread, and an undeniable reality in Sierra Leone .

The current police crime report covers the various types of violence committed against women in 2016 to January 2017 . In addition to providing statistical information, the Police  report catalogued terrible details of incidents of violence against women.

Sixty one thousand, one hundred and eighty-eight (61,188) cases were recorded nationally in the six Police Command Regions, covering 36 Local Command Units (Divisions), 85 Stations and 181 Police posts.

The Western Area recorded a combined increase of 1,534 (35,112 to 36,646) – a percentage increase of 4.3%. Freetown East recorded a slight decrease of cases, 0.77% (18,567 to 18,424), while Freetown West recorded a significant increase, 10.14% (1,677 i.e. 16,545 to 18,222).

The Northern Region recorded a combined increase of 452 (9,873 to 9,421) –  a percentage increase of 4.58%. Western Region recorded a 31.71% increase (1,852; 5,841 to 3,989) while North Eastern Region recorded a significant decrease of 34.72% (1, 4,032 to 5,432).

Southern Region recorded a reduction of 15.32% of crime reported between 2015 and 2016 i.e 1,173 (7,655 to 6,482) while Eastern Region recorded an increase of 8.07% i.e. 645 (7,994 to 8,639).

Gender-based violence against women and girls, including all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape, is a  major human rights violation. It is estimated that one in three women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime and two out of three women have experienced physical and, or sexual violence from an intimate partner.

Despite the improvements in raising collective awareness about the prohibition of all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape, women around the country continue to be sexually assaulted, raped, threatened, or inappropriately touched, in at least one or more instances in their life; and most of these cases rarely come to public attention, nor are they brought to justice.

Many victims experience re-victimization due to a widespread victim-blaming culture across the media and society alike, which tends to stigmatize victims, thus deterring them from reporting. (Photo: The new police chief – Moigbe).

Chapter 2-section 5-1a of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, states clearly that the security peace and welfare of the people of Sierra Leone shall be the primary purpose and responsibility of Government, and to this end it shall be the duty of the armed forces, the police, public officers and all security agents to protect and safeguard the people of Sierra Leone.

The  SLP still has time to venerate itself by performing its constitutional duty. The CHRDI says it will not relent in bringing this issue into public discourse, until the police does so.

Editor’s Note:

Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) is a Rights based Public social-policy advocacy Organisation. It draws attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights, and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.

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