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JAMAICA: Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigators Better Equipped

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#Jamaica, May 29, 2018 – Kingston – After receiving the highest mark of 90.08 per cent in the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigators’ Training Course, Detective Constable Sharline Griffiths has pledged to use the lessons learnt to help victims of such crimes.

“For me, I will use the techniques to really get to the root in helping the victim,” she told JIS News.

She said that often victims are not forthcoming with certain information, but noted that “by persevering a little more, coupled with what was taught, you will be able to go deeper”.

Detective Constable Griffiths, who is an investigator at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), was among 24 persons who successfully completed the course offered by the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ).  The four-week training programme was designed to meet the specialist work requirement of the investigators.

Among other things, it served to widen their knowledge of sexual violence; strengthen understanding of the laws governing the offences; and improve their investigative skills and competencies.

Detective Constable Griffiths, who spoke to JIS News at the graduation ceremony at the NPCJ recently, said that among the areas covered was how to properly complete a case file with all the necessary impactful evidence in place to punish sexual offenders.

“Once a case file is properly put together and you have evidence properly collected with DNA, you’ll find that you will be successful in the courts, and convictions will be secured,” she pointed out.

Other topics covered included DNA handling, analysis and examination of emotions, interviewing reluctant witnesses, crime scene management, exhibit handling, biometrics, sexual offences investigations, rape trauma syndrome, legal and ethical issues and committal proceedings.

Lessons were delivered using a range of teaching methods that catered to different learning styles such as lectures, which were accompanied by PowerPoint presentations; discussions; brainstorming; role play; and cooperative learning.  Practical exercises were used in the delivery of certain topics such as case file preparation, court room demeanour and testimony.  Exercises involving the courts were supervised by personnel from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and attorneys.

Detective Constable Griffiths told JIS News that at the end of the training, the participants were able to reach consensus on how investigations should be conducted, and noted that the processes will be applied in the field.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, is optimistic that with the training received, the investigators will make a difference in investigating, interrogating and apprehending perpetrators of crimes against women and children.  She noted that sexual offences and child abuse are forms of gender-based violence, and despite efforts to eliminate and address these issues, arrests and convictions remain low.

“This must be changed, and you are poised to become the agents of change,” she said in a speech read by Acting Senior Director at the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Robinson, at the graduation ceremony.

Ms. Grange told the graduates it is paramount that they address cases of sexual offences in a sensitive manner, and, with the newly acquired skills, they are expected to provide greater support and hope to victims of various sex crimes.

“You are now better equipped to deliver supportive and other necessary services, to collect critical forensic evidence, some of which is unique to crimes of a sexual nature, to ensure due process for defendants (thereby) resolving cases swiftly, fairly and effectively,” she pointed out.

Ms. Grange argued that investigators are most effective when they are guided by specialised knowledge, are sensitive to the needs and interests of victims, and are committed to multidisciplinary collaboration.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police, Wayne Josephs, who is attached to the Criminal Investigation Branch, said that the DNA Evidence Act is an important piece of legislation in investigating sexual offences and child abuse.

“It is the best thing to happen to CISOCA,” he noted, adding that it will be useful in solving cases that have gone cold.  CISOCA cases are mainly those (involving) bodily fluids.  For those persons already behind bars (who have committed sexual offences), they might come up on the radar, because the science and the technology doesn’t lie,” he pointed out.

The DNA Evidence Act stipulates the compulsory extraction of DNA samples from suspects and convicted persons; outlines the protocol for collecting, retaining and preserving these in addition to the retention or destruction of DNA profiles; and outlines penalties for breaches of the Act.  These breaches include falsifying profiles, swapping DNA samples or profiles with intent to deceive, and tampering with containers or packages bearing profile samples.

 

By: Chad Bryan (JIS)

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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