Since the commencement of the Sexual Offences Courts in 2017, a total of 131 sexual offences cases have been tried in all three counties.
The Sexual Offences Court in Georgetown has seen the bulk of these cases, followed by the courts Berbice and then Essequibo.
The Judiciary of Guyana said that from the 131 cases, 61 convictions were recorded which includes 47 guilty verdicts and 12 guilty pleas.
There were 40 not guilty verdicts, 18 hung juries, 18 acquittals and four aborted matters. In some cases, the accused appeared before the court indicted for more than one counts of the offence, thus having a conviction for a count or counts and or an acquittal or acquittals for the other.
Sentences for such convictions ranged from the minimum of four years imprisonment to the maximum of a life sentence. The offences for which trials were conducted included rape, rape of a child under 16, sexual activity with a child family member and carnal knowledge.
The total number of cases for each offence is as follows: rape 34; rape of a child under 16, 56; sexual activity with a child family member 35; and carnal knowledge, four.
From 2017-2020 the number of survivors in the category of gender, the majority are females amounting to 122 and nine for males. The ages of the victims have ranged from ages one-year-old being the youngest to 77 years old being the oldest.
According to the Judiciary, the idea of having a Sexual Offences Court in all three counties came about because of the significant increase of sexual offences cases being heard before the courts.
In light of this, the Judiciary added there was the need to have a resolution of these sensitive matters in a safe atmosphere for its survivors while ensuring fair but speedy trials.
The Georgetown Sexual Offences Court, the oldest and blueprint for the two other courts in Berbice and Essequibo, was opened on November 13, 2017.
The courts were established through a collaboration between the Supreme Court of Judicature, UNICEF, the Ministry of Social Protection and the Jurist Project, all long-standing partners of the Court. Funding for these modern, survivor-friendly courtrooms were donated by UNICEF.