THE SEXUAL abuse of minors is on the increase with more than 2,400 having been raped between January and October this year.
The appalling statistics were released by the Victim Friendly Unit on Friday, which also reported a rise in domestic violence cases.
Of the 3, 421 child abuse cases reported during the period ending October, 2, 405 were raped.
Forty one percent of the abuses are said to have been carried out by neighbours of the victims, while relatives accounted for 27 percent.
Speaking at a crime awareness event organized by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Victim Friendly Unit Assistant Commanding Officer Isabella Sergio said most of the abused children were under the age of 18.
She urged parents not to put their children in danger by leaving them in the custody of strangers or untrustworthy relatives and neighbours.
“Parents leave minors in the custody of male relatives or their neighbours as they go about their activities,” Sergio said. “This exposes them to sexual abuse.”
“As an organisation we are obviously worried by the fact that children continue to bear the brunt of sexual offences.”
Teenage boys, she said, were among the abusers who took advantage of little girls.
“What has become more worrisome now is that boys under the age of 18 years have developed a habit of sexually abusing young girls below 12 years.
“These teenage boys take advantage of unaccompanied minors left in their custody or waylay them in secluded footpaths, bushy areas and maize fields as well as along the distances between schools and homesteads especially in rural areas,” she said.
Sergio also reported that cases of domestic violence were surging. Last year her organization recorded 8, 296 cases compared to the 9, 807 already documented this year.
“Infidelity and misuse of family income are other major causes of domestic violence,” she added.