Chile sees 8.1% increase in sexual assault reports in 2017

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

SANTIAGO – The Fiscalía Nacional, the National Public Prosecution Service, announced this week that reports of sexual assault increased by 8.1% in the months of January to September, in comparison with the same period in 2016. Of these, 75.8% of cases were reportedly perpetrated against victims under the age of 18.

The results were released as part of the “Informe Estadístico del Ministerio Público”, a study performed every three months to monitor the crime levels in the country and to gain more knowledge on the trends of criminal activity. The report stated that of the reported sexual assaults, 84.4% of the victims were female and 15% were male.

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According to the Fiscalía, sexual crimes include all those attacks which violate the sexual liberty and indemnity of anyone, independent of their age, social status, race, ethnicity, sex or nationality. This includes, but Is not limited to, any sexual action performed without permission, for example rape, touching or kissing of sexual parts, simulation of a sexual act, and showing or making pornographic material without permission.

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The statistics announced suggest that although the overall number of reported sexual assaults has increased, the number of rapes reported have dropped by 0.2% compared to 2016.

The Executive Director of the judicial authority, Francisca Werth, commented that “here, there could be many reasons [for the increase]. It could be that citizens are becoming more aware and are therefore reporting more frequently. But we have seen through the various releases of these statistics that there is a general trend towards an increase.”

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However, when asked whether this was a general trend across all crimes, she highlighted that this is not the case. Instead, according to the online media organization Emol, she stated that “there is a general stabilization, if not a slight trend towards a decline”.