Hospital delays in processing victims of rape and other sexual offences are having an impact on police investigations and the victims themselves, Saint Lucia police have disclosed.
The disclosure was made last night during the MBC Television Programme – Police Insight.
It came against the backdrop of a recent spate of alleged rapes in the country, the most recent involving an adult male and a ten year old female.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner, Milton Desir, disclosed that he had even received a complaint where a victim was sent home from a hospital after being told that the institution was unable to do an examination.
“You find that an officer who has many reports to investigate has to spend hours at a hospital waiting with this particular rape victim to be examined by a Doctor,” Desir said.
He explained that the police have a support team which will be taking over the role of the police investigator in staying with the victim until the person is able to see a medical examiner.
It was observed that police investigators have complained about the hospital delays which make the rape victim feel victimized again.
Desir explained that all support areas for rape victims are currently being examined.
He revealed that meetings have been held to discuss the way forward, with hospital representatives having been very supportive of rape victims being examined without delay.
“As police officers we know that the longer it takes to collect evidence, the worse it gets,” the Acting Deputy Police Commissioner declared.
Police Commissioner, Severin Moncherry, expressed the hope that with a move to a new hospital, something will be put in place for additional Doctors and an area specially designated for the police.
He said that the police understand the situation facing medical personnel at the Island’s hospitals.
“Sometimes you may have an accident – persons are seriously injured and priority has to be given to them; so sometimes it is a difficult situation for them to deal with because you may hardly have many Doctors on duty at the time,” Moncherry explained.
He recalled that in the past, a special Doctor was assigned to deal with rape cases.
“Maybe that is something we can go back to,” Moncherry stated.