Gov’t Taking Action against Sexual Offences – Grange

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Government remains committed to curtailing sexual offences.
  • The Minister noted that professionals, including judges, attorneys, court personnel and police, are being trained “to efficiently and effectively respond to survivors, and witnesses of sexual assault cases”.
  • The Minister said at the institutional level, it is important to ensure that “our policies and procedures, as well as our legal and regulatory frameworks, facilitate the requisite redress, relief and restitution required for those affected”.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Government remains committed to curtailing sexual offences.

She said measures being undertaken to this end include a rigorous review of legislation to fast-track the prosecution of perpetrators, public awareness campaigns, and psychosocial support and healthcare for victims.

The Minister noted that professionals, including judges, attorneys, court personnel and police, are being trained “to efficiently and effectively respond to survivors, and witnesses of sexual assault cases”.

She was speaking during the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) local launch of the ‘Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on November 24.

Ms. Grange said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) statistics showed that there were 614 incidents of rape in 2015 and 496 in 2016.

St. Catherine and St. Andrew accounted for the highest and second highest cases, respectively, for both years. The parishes, combined, accounted for 40 and 41 per cent of all cases for 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The Minister said at the institutional level, it is important to ensure that “our policies and procedures, as well as our legal and regulatory frameworks, facilitate the requisite redress, relief and restitution required for those affected”.

“At the interpersonal level, it is equally important that we have the courage and knowledge to be able to recognise all forms of abuse, report them and provide redress that is commensurate with the offence,” she noted further.

Ms. Grange said the Model Guidelines will be pivotal to the Government’s efforts in addressing sexual offences.

“The Model Guidelines… represent the shared understanding and commitment of the Government of Jamaica around the imperative of eliminating (sexual) violence. Jamaica is fully seized of the need for a coordinated and sustained approach in addressing the serious, prevalent and deeply entrenched problem of sexual offences,” she added.

The document, which was launched in tandem with the Jamaican Judiciary, is intended to provide internationally accepted best practices for the management of sexual-offence cases. It offers a rights-based approach to the treatment of complainants and vulnerable witnesses, including children involved in sexual assault cases.

It was funded under the Can$90-million Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, which is being implemented by the CCJ on behalf of the Conference of the Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM.

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