The number of reported rapes recorded by human rights group Adhoc fell by about 24 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, though the rape of children and minors continued to account for the majority of attacks.
The annual figures were released as Kandal Provincial Court on Thursday charged a 21-year-old motorcycle repairman with the rape of a 6-year-old girl on Tuesday in Sa’ang district, police said.
Chuon Chamrong, head of Adhoc’s women’s section, said a total of 242 rape cases were recorded by the group in 23 provinces last year, including eight rape-murders. In 177 rape cases, the victims were children. In 2012, Adhoc recorded 312 rape cases, including 214 rapes of children.
Ms. Chamrong said it was likely that there were more cases Adhoc had not managed to record.
“Due to the mandate of Adhoc, it was a bit limited in 2013, so we cannot say the number was definitely a decrease or similar to the previous year,” Ms. Chamrong said.
Sao Seny, senior children’s rights monitor at rights group Licadho, said that he had recorded 172 cases of child rape last year across the 14 provinces and provincial capitals that Licadho monitors. Of these, four were gang rapes and two were rape-murders.
CNRP lawmaker-elect and former Women’s Affairs Minister Mu Sochua, who represents Battambang province, where 31 cases of child rape were recorded by Adhoc last year, the highest in the country, said ending child rape must be a government priority.
“We propose very top-level priority action on the agenda to prevent this kind of crime against children,” she said.
“There is always this question of impunity within the system of the court, the judiciary as well as within the social system. There needs to be a lot of education in terms of children’s rights, protection, and that needs to come from the national budget.”
In Kandal, the latest young victim of rape is recovering in hospital, just three weeks after a 5-year-old girl was raped by a 23-year-old man in a separate case in the same province.
Meng Soknen, an officer with the provincial penal serious crime bureau, said that Hav Piseth, 21, was arrested on Wednesday in Svay Brateal commune for raping the 6-year-old girl.
“Police arrested the suspect following a complaint filed by the mother of the victim on Tuesday,” Mr. Soknen said.
The victim had gone to play with her friend, who is the attacker’s niece. She was dragged into a room and raped on the floor behind a locked door. Her attacker confessed under questioning by police, and is being held in pretrial detention.
(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)
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