There are currently over 160 Rape and sexual assault cases that are currently awaiting trial at various stages of the court system, while close to 40 are currently either being investigated, lodged on the cold case shelf or lack enough evidence to send to trial.

The figures were tabulated based upon past police crime data, publicly available information at the criminal assizes, and at the magistrate’s court, which were collected during a Guyana Guardian funded independent investigation into cases of sexual assault against women and children in Guyana.

A further review of the same collective data has also shown that despite the high number of conviction rates, and supposedly aggressive sentencing numbers, the court seems to be seeing an increased volume of rape and sexual assault cases each year.
A simple cross reference of the same data will also show that court cases pertaining to rape, buggery and other forms of serious sexual assault have been increasing in Guyana by an average of 17 – 19% per year since 2014, while cases involving rape and sexual assault of children has been increasing by a staggering 21 to 24% each year, particularly from between the years of 2014 to 2017.

But while the numbers may seem to suggest that there is an increase of incidents of rapes in Guyana, an email consultation that was done with the Sexual Violence Research Centre at the Australian Institute of Family studies, by this publication, have revealed something different from the negative views that the court case numbers might trigger.

In one submitted expert opinion by Australian Donna Sawyers, the increasing number of sexual assault cases before the courts can possibly be attributed to more successful police investigations, more victims coming forward, or an expanded coverage of the law as it relates to the list sexual offences.

Responding to a further query from the Guyana Guardian, Ms Sawyers stressed that “I don’t think an increasing number of rape cases before the court should be interpreted as something negative. As a matter of fact, an increased number of court cases for criminal offences can be a good thing. It can very well mean that law enforcement officers are getting better at their work, and more victims are now getting a chance to be heard. Therefore, you cannot fairly say that there is a need for alarm simply because there is a growing number of rape cases before the court”.