To assess this claim, we used data from the Grave Crimes Abstract (GCA) from the Sri Lanka Police. Since the MP specified “girls”, we considered reported cases of rape of women under 16, which is classified as statutory rape.
GCA data records the number of statutory rape cases reported from 2015 to 2018 in a range from 1,438 to 1,686 per annum. The average reported cases of statutory rape during this period was 1,556. The MP’s claim of 1,600 aligns with the data.
Therefore, we classify the MP’s statement as TRUE.
The average number of all reported cases of rape (including women above 16 years of age) was 1,898 between 2015 and 2018. However, it must be noted that many people who experience sexual violence do not report or come forward about the incidents. A WHO report, ‘Understanding and addressing violence against women: sexual violence’, notes: “The best quality prevalence data on sexual violence come from population-based surveys. Other sources of data on sexual violence include police reports and studies from clinical settings and nongovernmental organizations; however, because only a small proportion of cases are reported in these settings, they produce underestimates of prevalence.” Therefore, it is possible that the number of cases of rape per year are much higher than the figures reported in the GCA, which is based on police statistics.
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