About 87 sex-abuse cases reported in Thailand daily

Women and children reported sexual abuse or sought counselling at a daily rate of 87 last year - with most offenders close to the victim, according to a Public Health Ministry counselling service. The information was revealed at a Bangkok seminar yesterday.

A child and a woman were violated every 15 minutes, said Suphensri Phuengkhoksoong, a senior official at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said there were 31,866 cases last year, though not all were reported to the centre.

She said 261 people received counselling from the 358 cases pursued by the centre for legal, social or psychiatric reasons.

The alleged offenders were mostly educated people, and the slow legal process or legal loopholes delayed cases while a lack of corporate funding made it difficult to bring sex offenders "who preyed on female colleagues at work" to justice.

Police 'turning down complaints'

In many cases police refused to accept complaints by victims, citing political instability as the reason, and corporate mechanisms to protect female office workers were lax.

A senior official with the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, Jaree Srisawas, said 169 sex crimes against men were reported in five Thai-language dailies last year, with 51 per cent involving rape.

The other 223 sex crimes covered in the newspapers included molestation, attempted rape and statutory rape, with 29 people murdered.

Jaree said the factors leading people to commit sex crimes included alcohol, intolerance to self-sexual urges, and consequent crimes occurring after robbery.

The youngest victim was aged one year and nine months and oldest was 85, while the youngest offender was a 10-year-old boy who took part in a gang-rape and the oldest was an 85-year-old man who molested a young girl.