A campaigner has called for stronger laws to encourage child victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

Debi Ray-Rivers of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets (SCARS) spoke out after a string of such cases came before the Island’s courts.

She said: “In order to help in the prevention of child sexual abuse, victims of this crime must see accountability and consequence properly bestowed upon their perpetrators.

“The sentencing of child molesters needs to be severe so that children are more likely to tell and not be intimidated to come forward.”

She said in one recent case, a victim dropped a charge in order to avoid the court procedure.

“Our current judicial system seems to be in favour of those wrongly accused of sexual molestation and their rights,” she alleged.

“What about the rights of an innocent child who has been sexually violated?”

She added: “We encourage any adult entrusted with children to become informed and armed with the warning signs of child sexual abuse and [knowledge of] what to do if you know of a child being sexually abused.”

SCARS is running a Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children certified training workshop on September 8 between 9am and noon. It will cost $50 per person.

SCARS will also hold a trained facilitator course on September 15 from 9am to 5pm, costing $485 per person.

Those who complete the course and become certified trained facilitators are able to train their staff, coaches or teachers on how to recognise and prevent child sex abuse.

For more information or to register for the courses e-mail debi.ray-rivers@scars.bm.

By The Royal Gazette