11 May 2005

Women in PNG's Bougainville province report more incest cases

8:16 pm on 11 May 2005

Women's groups in the Papua New Guiena province of Bougainville say there has been a surge in sex crimes against children in the past two years.

Helen Hakena of the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency says only a handful of victims are coming forward because most of them are deterred by the stigma and by family pressure.

She says last year the abuse of 66 children, some as young as four, was reported.

Ms Hakena says figures for this year indicate the incidence is worsening.

"In the last two months of this year we have seen 15 incest cases with children under the age of 12. And these children have been sexually abused by parents, like fathers, and brothers within their clan."

Helen Hakena