Police warn against publicly identifying victims of sex crimes and alleged perpetrators

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The police have revealed they are investigating the administrators of Troll Antigua and other social media users who have revealed the names or aliases of suspects and victims in sex crimes in contravention of the Sexual Offences Act.
The announcement came following the latest incident where residents have been naming and sharing photographs of a suspect and an alleged victim of a sex crime on social media.
Additionally, people have been circulating an audio recording of the alleged transaction between the man, who is now known to be 52 years old, and a girl under 16 years of age.
The man was charged over the weekend and is expected to appear in court today.
Meanwhile, a local counsellor, Aurica Williams, told OBSERVER media that the victims and those accused of sex crimes are to likely suffer psychologically when the incident is disseminated on social media.
“The media can really borderline cyber bullying and a lot of people spend hours on [social] media and what persons don’t realise is that everything that is on the media is not necessarily true,” Williams said.
She said an underlying psychological factor is that the publications are done for sensationalism and entertainment and not
necessarily in empathy for the victim.
The counsellor added, “Most of the time there is a lot of speculation and breach of privacy and this affects the victim by creating high stress levels.
“It’s stressful to the point where it leads to depression and for the victim it could be reliving the traumatising situation all over again, especially if it’s something they considered a mistake or something they are trying to put in the past.”
Williams explained that victims’ psychological processing of the incident and how they view themselves are negatively impacted, especially when one is young and battling interpersonal questions.
“That speculation is affecting the person’s identity, confidence, their self-esteem; how other persons view them can have an impact on them and their social life. Young people who are trying to find out, ‘Who am I and what is my purpose in this world?’ And, at the same time, they want to keep a good name and develop a healthy lifestyle,” Williams said.
In some instances, where the accusations are false, Williams said parents should secure legal guidance and do whatever is necessary to protect their children’s identity and reputation.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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