Saint Lucia has one domestic violence shelter in the north of the island, therefore, every domestic violence victims must be transportated to this one shelter, most instances the shelter is inundated because our domestic violence situation is at a critical state with no obvious support for victims including the absence of a domestic violence act.
Our initial mandate was to advocate for and on behalf of women and children who are victims of violence and lack of access to swift justice. Our work is hard and tedious because entrenched cultures make change difficult, therefore it is necessary to be persistent in our efforts to raise awareness and educate everyone on the detrimental effects of gender base violence on us as individuals, on homes, families and the country. Coupled with these responsibilities we are hosting women who cannot go to the shelter or stay at their own homes because of the threat of harm by intimate partners and partners who threaten the safety and security of their children
For the Period 2013/15 the Division of Human Services reported eight hundred and twelve cases (812) cases of child abuse, categorized as physical abuse, verbal/psychological abuse, sexual abuse and abandonment/neglect;
For the period 2013 to 2014 & 2016 the Family Court reported a total of one thousand and thirty (1039) nine cases of domestic violence, figures for 2015 were not available;
For the period 2015 the Vulnerable Persons Unit of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force recorded 112 cases of sexual assault/rape and 52 cases of domestic violence, in 2016 the department recorded 250 cases of this total 36 were domestic violence and 214 were sexual assault and rape;
For the period 2013/16 the Women Support Shelter recorded a total of 1076 domestic violence crisis calls, there was a marked increase in 2016 reflecting a total of 435 crisis calls.
These statistics show a startling and persistent increase in gender based violence, we believe public education and awareness, increased resources (human, training and capacity building) to social services agencies is critical to minimize the high rate of gender based violence, critical legislation to provide a more equitable environment and minimize legal victimization of women and children have been pending for very, very long.
We continue to struggle for resources to assist victims while being thankful for those who support our work and vision.
A SAFE SPACE FOR VICTIMS TO BE DEBRIEFED, SHELTERED AND SUPPORTED IS CRITICAL FOR EVERYONE.