The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) condemns the recent report of a 14-year-old minor who was allegedly sexually abused by a security guard at a local high school. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC), this is a direct infringement on the child’s right to be free from sexual abuse (Article 34). Moreover, children have the right to be protected from any form of exploitation (Article 36).
Protecting children is a shared responsibility. It requires the active involvement of multiple stakeholders, including government, all institutions, parents and every adult. If this responsibility is taken up by all, then child abuse has the potential to be reduced and even eliminated.
Furthermore, children deserve the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. When they become victims of such violent actions, besides infringing on their rights, they are also emotionally traumatized, which can be carried through to adulthood, without proper intervention.
Given the system established in Belize for sexual abuse against children, NCFC calls on the respective authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that the perpetrator of this crime will be punished to the full extent of the law. Additionally, the NCFC hopes that this child will be afforded the care necessary to help alleviate any associated trauma.
Violence against children must end! – End of Release –
The incident allegedly occurred around 3:30pm on Monday, April 9, 2018, on a south side school compound in Belize City. The alleged victim, who is 14 years old went to the police station with her father and reported that Ryan Neal, the school’s security guard, called her up to the third floor of the campus and had sex with her in one of the classrooms.
On Monday, April 23, 2018, Neal appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford where he was charged for unlawful sexual intercourse and grievous harm. No plea was taken because the case will be heard at the Supreme Court. The magistrate explained to him that she cannot offer him bail until after three months have passed and with that, he was remanded into custody until July 23.