The President of Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc, Catherine Sealys has asserted that the biggest challenge facing the fight against gender based violence is a lack of proper legislation.
“We do not have a proper domestic violence act; we do not have a proper child protection act,” Sealys explained.
She asserted that there are several pieces of legislation that need to be enacted by the government of Saint Lucia.
“Our information is that they have been reviewed as we speak and they should be enacted shortly. We want to encourage the Attorney General and the Office of the Prime Minister to do so as quickly as possible,” she told reporters.
Sealys said in that way the police and other agencies concerned would have a legal basis when dealing with gender based violence.
Th Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc official asserted that gender based violence is costly for families and the state.
She was speaking with reporters as a two-day training session for front line social workers, representatives of NGOs and hospitals, the police and community officials got underway Monday.
The session is aimed at improving service delivery and institutional responses to victims of gender based violence.
According to Sealys, the training session is extremely important for Saint Lucia.
“Gender based violence is something of high cost for both families and the state – families in the sense of the disruption and the breakdown of families and how it impacts people later in life, and for the state, gender based violence actually is a high cost on the social services,” the Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia official observed.
She explained that victims of gender based violence need the social services, the police, welfare support and hospital services.
“We are hoping that this small contribution from our group sponsored by the UK High Commission goes a long way in minimising gender based violence and puts us on a path where we can actually be in a position to recognise the symptoms of gender based violence and provide assistance and support to both victims and perpetrators,” Sealys stated.
She explained that upon completion of the training programme, an evaluation will follow to determine how the session has improved the services provided to victims of gender based violence.