ASTANA – In the last five years, reported incidents of sexual violence against minors in Kazakhstan have doubled, Attorney General of Kazakhstan Askhat Daulbayev said at a recent meeting of Coordination Council on Law Enforcement under the Prosecutor General’s Office of Kazakhstan, where he also called for stronger investigative procedures and more thorough assessments of adults who were with children.
“Dangers for children of all ages today are growing and becoming more acute,” Daulbayev said, as reported by Tengrinews on June 12. “In 2010, 491 children became a victim of rapists; in 2014, there were 943 such cases.” Cases are reported on a daily basis, he said, with 16 cases registered already in June.
More than 600 cases of sexual violence against minors were reported in the first five months of 2015, the attorney general said, including two horrific cases in Almaty Oblast and East Kazakhstan Oblast in which minors were held for long periods of time. He also complained about investigative processes in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reported, saying cases are “red taped or hidden.”
“Let’s be honest, despite the clear deterioration of the rule of law in this area, no one has raised the alarm, including prosecutors,” Daulbayev said. Nearly 3,000 criminal sexual offences, including 605 against minors, have been left unsolved over the past five years, Tengrinews reported.
The attorney general also said that more child abuse and child pornography videos are being found in the Kazakh Internet space. He opined that the surge of violence against children was due to a general “decline of morality and ethics in Kazakh society” exacerbated by the availability of violent or pornographic materials online, according to Tengrinews. “The population, including children, has unlimited access to social networks, where they are free to view and distribute such videos.” Moral, legal and socio-economic issues also contribute to the problem, he said.
Daulbayev also noted a rise in sexual crimes in general, from a reported 1,885 in 2010 to 3,623 in 2014, according to a June 11 Bnews.kz article.
At the same meeting, Deputy Prosecutor General Andrei Kravchenko noted that the country is working toward improving quality of life, including through the newly announced “Plan of the Nation: 100 Concrete Steps,” some of which target improving the legal and judicial systems. “Thinking about reducing crime, we focus on changing living standards. However, this approach is defective. A high standard of living, of course, can reduce the number of offences, but the implementation of specific, comprehensive and clear law enforcement measures cannot be ignored,” said Kravchenko, according to the Central Communications Service.
He called for the development of a united strategy for preventing sexual crimes. “We need to discuss these issues, to create specific timelines for the preparation of such a strategy and then to adopt it at the next meeting of the Coordination Council,” Kravchenko said. He also said the rising incidences of violence against children showed “the clear need for psychological testing when employing people on work related to education [and] training of children. … It would be good for health authorities to develop a procedure for notifying law enforcement authorities of persons who have mental disorders and a tendency to sexual harassment and violence,” he said, according to the Bnews.kz report.
He also suggested that special Internet resources for combating crime be created. “I would like to propose to the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Investment and Development along with nongovernmental organisations together to continue the development of such important online resources as Safekaznet.kz, which receives allegations of illegal content on the Internet. Also, we should create sites similar to the global service Missingkids.com,” he said, according to the CCS.
Kravchenko did note some positive steps in combating sexual violence, particularly with the use of surveillance cameras.
During the same meeting, Deputy Attorney General Nurmakhanbet Issayev said the country must consider castration as a preventive measure against repeat offences, as he said is practiced in Russia and other countries. He commented that today, measures to protect the population from sex offenders are insufficient and that recidivism among released offenders remains a problem. “It is, therefore, necessary to subject such persons to psychological and psychiatric examination to establish the reasons behind their crimes and identify the presence of physical pathologies or sadistic inclinations in them,” he said, according to Tengrinews.