Advocate says A&B doing a ‘horrible job’ combating incest

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A local advocate for gender rights has accused Antigua & Barbuda of doing a “horrible job” in protecting children from incest.
The criticism from Linisa George came after the media reported that a father had been sentenced to jail for engaging in an abusive incestuous relationship with his daughter while she was a minor.
“This has been happening for years … we do a horrible job at protecting our young people,” George told OBSERVER media as she contended that the latest report should not surprise citizens.
 “It has been happening for years in Antigua,” George reiterated yesterday as she said the focus should be on breaking the cycle because harsh punishment alone cannot properly deal with the situation.
The gender rights advocate also suggested that measures should be put in place to ensure that “Social Services … step up … to take on families who are victims”.
She claimed that many times, when cases of incest are brought to the fore, families are not financially able to take the necessary counselling required.
Noting that some victims may even have to move out of the home in which the abuse occurred, George called on the state to have shelters in place where both the victim and other members of the household can be protected
On Tuesday, a High Court judge sentenced the 44-year-old father of six to 18 years in Her Majesty’s Prison, with the possibility of early release after he served two-thirds of his sentence. The father had pleaded guilty to repeatedly engaging in sexual intercourse with his daughter from the time she was nine years old until she was 14.
Noting that the child had been residing with her father and stepmother when the acts of incest occurred, George said children as young as those in preschool should be educated on how to detect and report any inappropriate sexual advances to their teachers.
“Part of the education process has to be that aspect,” she stressed. “They should be taught from early on about their body and sex.
“There is a common misconception that teachers aren’t the ones who should teach children about sex [but] what should we do when the parents are the ones guilty of the sexual misbehaviour?”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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