July 5, 2012
Sri Lanka has seen a rise in the number of underage children being raped or abused this year, the police said on Thursday.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told Xinhua that over 700 incidents of rape or abuse of children were reported during the first six months of this year.
He said this was out of a total of around 900 complaints received by the police this year of women and children being raped or abused.
In the latest incident, a politician in the southern town of Akuressa was jailed on Wednesday over allegations he raped a 14 year old girl.
Also on Wednesday in the southern town of Tangalle, 19 people were arrested following a complaint that they had raped an underage girl over a period of time
Last year, the police recorded just over 1700 incidents of rape and abuse involving children and women of which around 1160 were child abuse and rape cases, Rohana said.
Rohana said the increase in access to computers, Internet and mobile phones has assisted in the rise of rape incidents in Sri Lanka.
He also said that there have been incidents of child rape being reported involving close relatives of the victims.
Over the past few months, the police have also been reporting incidents of underage children being molested or raped by their lovers.
Under local laws children under the age of 18 cannot get married.
The police spokesman said that the rise in the number of rape cases shows the need to amend local laws on rape offenders.
Most rape offenders manage to apply for bail and are released from prison. Child rights activists are pushing for rape to be a non-bailable offense. (Xinhua)