QCOSTARICA – Between January and September 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía) received more than 3,800 criminal complaints in which sexual crimes against minors are investigated.
The statistics are staggering.
On a monthly average, more than 420 minors suffered a sexual offense in Costa Rica.
The figures coincide with the year in which the country has faced the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed and children at home.
So far this year, 30 cases of attempted homicides against minors have also been investigated
The data was released by prosecutor Debby Garay Boza, coordinator of the Office of the Fiscalía de Atención de Hechos de Violencia en perjuicio de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes (FANNA) – Prosecutor for Attention to Acts of Violence against Girls, Boys and Adolescents.
As explained to the court as of September 30, 2020, a total of 7,060 cases are being investigated in the country for alleged crimes against minors.
Of these, a total of 3,219 cases correspond to robberies, assaults, non-compliance, abuse of parental authority and 10 cases correspond to ‘others’; while 3,830 are classified as sex crimes.
“The situation is alarming, it is serious. The complaints continue to increase, crimes against minors continue,” commented the prosecutor.
And the numbers speak for themselves.
A study by the Fiscalía on 18 crimes against minors detailed a considerable increase in recent years: in 2014, only 666 complaints were reported and by 2019 the number grew to 1800 complaints.
30 minors survive attempted homicide
The statistics of the new specialized unit of the Public Ministry, promoted by Attorney General, Emilia Navas, months ago show another variant that is alarming: in 9 months there were 30 homicide attempts against children.
Rocío De La O Díaz, Deputy Prosecutor of FANNA commented that with confinement due to the pandemic there is more social risk for children and asked the population to file complaints that stop the abuse of minors.
The specialist explained that the scar on children and adolescents is something that remains forever, so support must be provided in a timely manner.
“Our youngest population deserves to be born in an environment free of violence, free of terror. The underage population is the most vulnerable and their rights must be respected,” commented De la O.
Pani: 3,000 immediate care in 6 months
The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI) – national child welfare agency – detailed that between May and October 2020, the Immediate Attention Units (URAI) responded to more than 3,110 children in regional offices in Alajuela, Brunca Region, Cartago, Huetar Caribe, Chorotega and Huetar Norte.
The situations teams reported cases of severe neglect, domestic violence, homicide, suicide, physical or sexual abuse and drug use, among others.
The Minister for Children and Adolescents (Ministra de la Niñez y la Adolescencia), Gladys Jiménez, commented that the family “must be the protective environment par excellence”, but it is the place “where there are the greatest number of situations that violate the rights of children and adolescents. adolescence”.