Catherine Sealys, the President of the advocacy group – Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia, has lamented what she describes as a lack of action by social service agencies in response to sexual abuse reports.
“Starting from the police to the Department of Human Services and the Family Court, there is a lack of action,” she asserted.
“There is a lack of capacity, there is a lack of energy to carry these cases forward and these things have a way of just dying out,” Sealys told St Lucia Times.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions Office also lags. They have so many cases behind and people hearing cases are not going through,” she observed.
As a result, Sealys said people do not have the energy and appetite to go forward with cases that are not going to be heard.
Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc advocates for and on behalf of women and children who are victims of gender-based violence and lack of access to swift justice.
Sealys spoke against the backdrop of a landmark sex abuse case here.
Some twenty years after an employee of a local institution was accused of sexually abusing boys and girls under his care, the court convicted the perpetrator on charges of carnal knowledge last week.
And the court remanded him in custody for sentencing in May.
One of the female victims, now an adult, testified in court against the accused.
The Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia President, told St Lucia Times she could not recall seeing a statute of limitations on rape and sexual abuse.
But she did indicate that she was subject to correction.
“This is not unique and this is not new,” Sealys declared regarding the case.
Nevertheless, she said the outcome can be an encouragement for people.
“To say it didn’t matter when, it didn’t matter how, you still can come forward and get justice and this is all people are asking for – justice for these crimes against them because you carry the trauma for the rest of your life,” Sealys stated.
Headline photo: Catherine Sealys (Stock image)