#Jamaica, May 15, 2018 – Kingston – Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), who have been trained as Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigators have been charged to go after perpetrators of these crimes.
Acting Senior Director at the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Robinson, in making the appeal, noted that there have been low rates of arrest and conviction in relation to these acts of violence. This, she said, can be attributed to witnesses not coming forward because of coercion, fear, intimidation, lack of support, among other issues.
Mrs. Robinson, who was addressing the closing ceremony for the training course at the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ) in St. Catherine on May 11, expressed confidence that the 24 police men and women, who participated in the course, will make a difference. She urged them to uphold the agreements to which Jamaica is signatory, which prohibits all forms of violence against women and children.
These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Belem Do Para Convention, among others.
Delivered over a period of four weeks at the NPCJ, the training course was designed to meet the specialist work requirement for investigators of sexual offences and child abuse.
Topics covered include crime scene management, exhibit handling, biometrics, sexual offences investigations, rape trauma syndrome, legal and ethical issues, committal proceedings, among others. Participants were able to improve their knowledge of sexual violence, strengthen their understanding of the laws governing the offences, and improve their investigative skills and competences in sexual offence and child abuse cases.
Providing an update on the sexual harassment legislation, Mrs. Robinson told JIS News that the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, took the draft to Cabinet on March 19 where it sparked lively discussion and “was further considered for adoption”. She further informed that the Women’s Health Survey on the prevalence of gender-based violence has been completed and should be available to the public in short order.
The survey was commissioned by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) with technical and financial support from the United Nations Multi-Country Office and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through Phase Three of the Citizen’s Security and Justice Programme (CSJP III). It is the first of its kind in the country and will be replicated throughout the Caribbean.
Mrs. Robinson noted that the survey provides up-to-date information that will indicate the extent of gender-based violence in the country and the cohort most likely to be affected.
“It will (also) give (us) data to plan. We have a National Strategic Action Plan and this has a strategic priority area, which speaks to data sharing and protocols for data collection. This will establish precedence for data that is accurate and will serve as a baseline for future research like these,” she said.