The United States State Department 2015 Report on Human Rights has highlighted domestic violence as a “significant problem” in Saint Lucia.
The report asserted that while the police were willing to arrest offenders, the government prosecuted crimes of violence against women only when the victim pressed charges.
“Often victims were reluctant to press charges due to their financial dependence on the abuser,” the report said.
It observed that shelters, a hotline, and police training were all used to deal with the problem of domestic violence, but the lack of financial security for the victim was one of the key impediments.
The report stated that the maximum amount of child support that the court can award a woman is $250 XCD ($93) per month per child.
It reported that police also face resource challenges such as a lack of transportation, which can prevent them from responding to a call in a timely manner.
According to the document, the Saint Lucia Crisis Center, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) receiving government assistance, maintained a facility for battered women and their children.
It said that the only residential facility for victims of domestic abuse, the Women’s Support Center, also received government funding, while the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services, and Gender Relations assisted victims.