WITH more than 400 children reportedly being victimized in 2011, statistics on the occurrence of child sexual abuse on the island are appalling, according to an initial report by the LaniKate Task Force.
The task force, created under the LaniKate Protehi Y Famagu’on-ta Act, aims to prevent and reduce child sexual abuse from occurring on-island. Since its inception in September of last year, the task force has brought together various government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies to discuss an action plan on how to accomplish the goals of the legislation.
In its first report submitted Tuesday to the Governor's Office and members of the Legislature, the LaniKate Task Force gathered data from various agencies on the rate of child sexual abuse in 2011.
According to the data:
- Guam Police Department reports indicate 74 arrests were made for criminal sexual conduct and 22 arrests were made for forcible rape.
- Data provided by the Attorney General's Office indicates 42 convictions of criminal sexual conduct and 126 criminal sexual conduct cases pending.
- In the juvenile division of the AGO, there were 22 juveniles charged with offenses relating to some form of sexual abuse.
- Referrals in excess of 1,800 were reported to the Department of Public Health and Social Services in which a total of 2,512 children were involved.
- Child Protective Services also reported 434 children were subjected to sexual abuse, and indicated there were 78 children referred to the agency for teen pregnancy.
“These numbers are staggering ... there is no question that Guam is in need of an expansion in its current services and programs for victims, and that a more comprehensive system needs to be developed to ensure victims are provided with the full realm of therapeutic services needed for both short- and long-term treatment,” stated Attorney General Lenny Rapadas, presiding officer of the task force.
Just last month, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the AGO $404,688 to enhance crime victim services on Guam.
In a June 20 statement by Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, the grant received by the U.S. DOJ would help various community organizations provide direct assistance to victims of crime, such as child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. These Victims of Crime Act Victim Assistance funds will be competitively awarded to local community-based organizations that provide direct services to crime victims.