Law should make it mandatory to report sexual abuse of children
Stabroek News
February 20, 2002

Dear Editor,

With reference to a letter (l6.2.2002) concerning a seven year old who was being sexually molested by her grandfather, I am surprised that, of all persons, a doctor should take such an unethical position in advising the parent not to report to the police.

It seems like domestic violence, child molestation and incest are becoming the norm in the society. One main factor contributing to this is the non values that are being transposed into Guyana from the "civliized and advanced" metropolitan societies. Since we are so good at copy catting metropolitan trends, here's a law we should copy, or reinforce, if it already exists in the statutes.

In the US, doctors, nurses, police, teachers, priests, social and community workers are mandated by law to report all cases, incidents and suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Failure to do so could result in a fine or up to six months imprisonment. Also, in some States, persons with any previous conviction of child molestations are required to register their addresses with the police who ensures that the neighborhood is notified of such a person in their midst.

What a wonderful change in the welfare of innocent children there would be if this could happen in Guyana.

The law could also be so structured to require these responsible people in our communities to report also on other types of suspected criminal activities in their neighborhoods such as those relating to drugs.

Yours faithfully,

Gokarran Sukhdeo