The number of cases of sexual violence against children in Bali increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional child protection commission said, where most cases involved family members as perpetrators.
The Regional Child Protection Commission (KPPAD) in Bali said this week there were about 45 reports in 2020, up from 28 cases from the previous year.
“We received a lot of reports on sexual violence against underage children,” KPPAD Bali Chief, Ni Luh Gede Yastini, said.
Yastini explained that the commission doesn’t handle the cases directly, but compile existing reports on abuse against minors. KPPAD found most of the perpetrators were people closest to the victims, such as their biological fathers or step fathers, and even uncles or grandfather.
“Many [victims] are young teenagers, some are in primary school but most are in their teenage years,” Yastini said. “Many are rape cases, while there are several molestation cases.”
The current data, however, may not capture the full extent of the situation in Bali. According to Yastini, many victims are still reluctant to report cases of sexual violence.
“Because there are many people who are afraid of revealing the sexual violence they went through, whether it’s rape, molestation, or [sexual] harassment,” she said.
KPPAD called on the Education Agency to raise awareness on sexual violence among kids to prevent their victimhood, and to teach them to fight back and report their perpetrators to the authorities when they experience such violence.