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THE NUMBER OF PEDOPHILES IN MACEDONIA INCREASES In 2010 it was noted that the number of cases of child sexual abuse increased by 0.13% since 2009.How long the criminals who destroy a young person’s life will be spared from a befitting punishment? Young children are being scarred and traumatised for life on daily basis, while offenders receive minimal and mild punishment. Another monstrous case was closed on Wednesday. A father of three minor daughters, who sexually abused them, was sentenced to only 15 years in prison. In 2008 the court in Veles also sentenced a father who raped his two daughters of 12, to 15 years in prison. A journalist from the newspaper Vecher received a statement of a sexual abuse victim.

“As a child I was sexually abused. For almost a year now I have been going to therapy regularly. It's terrible what I went through emotionally, all these years. These are sick people who will never repent, they will never feel shame. Children can feel this. They punishes themselves instead of punishing the paedophile, they think it’s their fault. And it isn’t ... It wasn’t my fault either. No child is guilty of anything”, tells the anonymous victim to Vecher.

European legislation, as well as the judges in the EU countries, have no mercy on paedophiles. They give the most severe punishment, and life imprisonment is the most common sentence. America stands for penalties for paedophiles up to several decades. In Norway they implant microchip locators in the paedophiles’ bodies, so that law enforcement officials know their whereabouts at any time. In Denmark, Russia, Romania and South Korea reoffending paedophiles are chemically castrated, in France there is an option of serving a prison sentence in hospital  and in Canada there’s a practice after serving a prison sentence to 20 years, ex-convicts to be subjected to social and judicial monitoring. One element of this measure is a mobile electronic bracelet, which is put on the ex-convict’s hand. In the countries which are considered to be less civilized, death penalty is the only sentence for the offenders.

According to sociologist Tatyana Stojanoska the new changes to the Law on Criminal Procedure, concerning punishment of paedophiles in Macedonia, are commendable. “Maybe it's rough, but I think public stigmatising will give results. Although conscience (as an internal judge) is not a paedophile’s strong asset, it would somehow be a mechanism to prevent such acts to a certain measure. On the other hand, parents should advise their children and tell them to decline and report immediately any offer of a gift or service from those persons. I am even more rigorous in that aspect, I approve of draconian punishments. I think life imprisonment is one of the measures, because in most cases, paedophiles repeat the act. So after serving the sentence, the paedophile can abuse again. In some countries paedophiles undergo castration, but I can’t completely agreed with that from a humane point of view, although that method should not be ruled out completely given the trauma the victims experience”, says Stojanoska.

Macedonia is one of the countries in which instead of decreasing, the negative trend of paedophilia increases. According to the latest report of the SOS hot line for children and youth operating within the First Children's Embassy in the World "Megjashi" during the first 7 months of 2011 the trend of reporting cases by adults related to violation of children’s rights and sexual abuse continues.

According to their report in 2011 out of the total number of calls 2.83% are calls regarding possible cases of sexual abuse, and 2.83% are information about relationships between minors and adults. This fact shows that people still keep quiet about this phenomenon and it is still a taboo to talk about it.

The First Children's Embassy in the World "Megjashi" believes that the offenders found guilty of such crimes should be given a sentence imposing most severe penalty, and depending on the seriousness of the crime, such as incest, a particularly monstrous act or recidivism, they consider it necessary to to be given life imprisonment as well.

Unfortunately, the current practice shows that the offenders of these acts even after serving the sentence often repeat the same act.

“Paedophilia is a disorder of the sexual desire regarding the object of sexual pleasure, so we are talking about sexual preference to children who have not reached sexual maturity. Paedophilia, which is exclusively based on this preference, is less common occurrence. Very often the same person can also be found to have an inclination to fulfil their sexual desire both with children and adults. But what is crucial and what makes paedophiles accountable for their actions is the existence of critical consciousness about social norms and social ban for such affinities”, says prof. Dr. Marija Raleva, a psychiatrist for children and adolescents in the Psychiatric University Clinic in Skopje.

“Sexual abuse of children”, adds doctor Raleva, “is a psychological trauma and it has serious consequences both for the physical and mental health of children. Therefore, timely and appropriate psychotherapeutic interventions are necessary and adjusted for each affected child individually. This should be entrusted to professionals (child psychiatrists and psychologists), from the very beginning of the revelation of the abuse, because each subsequent incomplete and inadequately performed intervention can mean multiple abuse of children through the protection system, i.e. secondary victimization of children”, argues Raleva.

About one million children are victims of sexual abuse worldwide, and data show that only 30 percent of the cases are detected. According to the statistics female children are five times more likely to be a victim than male children, i.e. every third girl and seventh boy are victims of paedophiles. In 90 percent of the cases the abuse lasts several years, and in 10 percent several months. Silence and taboo on sexual abuse of children, procuring and trafficking them by parents, are now broken. Paedophilia has always been present, but it was not talked about publicly for several reasons, such as fear, shame and stereotypes that the child victim, especially girls should remain silent about sexual violence, often committed by adults they know. Reactions for more severe punishment of paedophiles, demands for depriving abusive parents of their parental rights and greater accountability from the state institutions are becoming more common.

In many cases it has been established that the offenders had been maltreated or abused by their parents or others, or had witnessed abuse. Sexual abuse is the worst kind of child abuse.