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Victims should not relive trauma

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

More than victims of other crimes, survivors of rape and sexual abuse relive the trauma over and over as their cases go through this country’s criminal justice system.

In addition to the ordeal of being physically, mentally and emotionally violated, they also have to suffer at the hands of insensitive and unprofessional police officers and medical examiners. It is the biggest reason why many victims choose to suffer in silence rather than seek justice. That means many sex offenders escape arrest and prosecution, leaving them free to carry out further attacks.

However, even that disturbing insight into the plight of survivors, given by Marian Taylor at Monday’s launch of Model Guidelines for Sexual Offences Cases in the Caribbean Region, does not portray the full extent of those horrific experiences. Closure, if it is ever achieved, is often a long, painful process, not helped by the paucity of support services and deeply entrenched myths about sex crimes which expose victims to stigma and discrimination.

With the launch of the Guidelines, the hope is that real change will be effected in T&T’s law enforcement and judicial systems giving real support to victims of sex crimes, including reduction of the time it takes between arrest and conviction and complete eradication of practices that cause re-victimisation.

This country, where even in times of economic abundance, resources are often not allocated in the places and quantities that can make a real difference, needs to ensure things are done differently and better this time around.

The sea bridge saga continues

An anniversary no one in country wants to observe is fast approaching—a full year since the Super Fast Galicia sailed away from T&T, triggering turmoil and disruptions on the sea bridge.A possible resolution of all that ails the sea bridge is still not within reach. The recently purchased Galleons Passage is on a frustratingly slow journey to the Caribbean and is not expected to dock in Port-of-Spain until late April.

Given these and other circumstances, it is not surprising that Tobago businesses and truckers—whose patience must be completely exhausted by now—plan to shut down the island. Government and the Tobago House of Assembly need to sit up and pay attention.

Justice for children

The opening of Children Courts in St Clair and Fyzabad means that T&T’s youngest citizens will receive fair, humane treatment when they face the judicial system, whether as victim or offender. This country needs more welcoming, youth-friendly courtrooms.


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