3 Feb 2004

Better complaints system sees more rapes reported in Marshall Islands

3:33 pm on 3 February 2004

The administrator at the Majuro hospital in the Marshall Islands says he believes stronger reporting mechanisms have led to an increase in the number of rapes being reported.

Last year, five rape or attempted rapes cases came to court.

All of them involved girls between the ages of five and fourteen.

The number of cases was a 400 per cent increase on the year before and hospital administrator, Sandy Alfred, says the new systems for making complaints has made the whole community more aware of the issue.

He says the hospital has had a policy for the past year to report any suspicious cases that are receiving emergency treatment.

The head of the Criminal Investigation Division, Vincent Tani, says in the past, customary practices have prevented people coming forward, but there is increased recognition that such behaviour is illegal.