Incest cases increase, Police report says

The number of incest cases recorded by the Police between 2018 and 2019 almost doubled while the sexual crimes generally decreased, the Ministry of Police Annual Report 2018-2019 notes.

Incest climbed during the financial year 2018-2019 to 11 from six recorded cases in the previous period.

The number of indecent assaults dropped significantly from 43 reported cases in the previous year to 24 in the 2018-2019 period.

A similarly large drop from 57 reported cases to 32 was recorded for sexual violations for the same period. 

In regards to sexual relations with girls under 16 years of age, there was a large drop to 18 reported cases from 45 in the previous period, meanwhile, reports of sexual relations with girls under the age of 12 increased from three to five cases recorded for the financial year 2018-2019.

The recorded increase in incest and sexual relations with girls under 12 years old indicates that more victims are more willing to come forward and that the public is now more aware of the crimes and criminal activities around them, the report stated.

"[The Samoa Police Service] is continuing to encourage victims through awareness programs to come forward and is encouraging the public to report these crimes to the Police," the annual report said.

Also outlined in the report is the spike in inquest and death cases recorded within the FY2018-2019 (increased from 34 to 63 cases), along with murder and manslaughter (increased from 9 to 13 cases), as well as causing injury (increased from 245 to 286 cases).

Meanwhile, assault decreased from 741 cases to 556 as well as causing serious injury, dropping from 33 to 31 cases.

The annual report states that alcohol is a prevalent factor in most of the crimes against persons.

The overall criminal offence scale showed an increase in incidences reported, as well as for traffic offences.

And while there is a nine per cent increase in criminal offences and a 17 per cent increase in traffic offences reported, the Ministry report noted a 122 per cent increase in police assistance.

This is said to reflect the public's reliance on Police to assist with a number of matters indicating the growing trust in the service.

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