THE advocacy group against violence and abuse of women and children in St. Lucia has again spoken out following reports of an attack on a six year old child.
Now the group, Raise Our Voice (St. Lucia) Inc. is calling for existing laws relating to rape and abuse of children to be amended and has proposed a three-year joint public education and awareness campaign for the Departments of Education, Social Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice and National Security.
“Last week we heard via news outlets the horrifying rape and sexual abuse of a six year old child. We continue to be angry at the moment, however, a sustained demand for long term actions to create public education and awareness and to amend existing laws relating to rape and abuse of innocent children is consistently absent from the conversation,” the group noted yesterday.
According to the group rape and sexual abuse of children both male and female is widespread within the society.
“To further compound this horrible situation our Criminal Code refers to rape of our children as Sexual Intercourse,” the group stated.
“We believe the situation requires immediate attention. Therefore, we propose that a three-year joint public education and awareness campaign by the Departments of Education, Social Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice and National Security be considered to educate the citizens on this dangerous and often times hidden evil within our society,” said the group.
“At a time when we have more female parliamentarians, we are yet to hear a strong, sustained and powerful voice of representation for women and children, nor strong condemnation or any promised action to systematically deal with the violence women and children continue to endure.
“The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia needs to address this as a matter of urgency by providing the necessary finances to the mentioned departments to create public awareness and to ensure the capacity of the justice system is upgraded to deal with violations against our women and children.
Our women cannot be good mothers if they are brutalized and afraid and our children cannot be our future if they are all traumatized and violated by the age of ten,” the group concluded.
Just last week the group locked horns with the Division of Human Services over a 17-year-old who is presently behind bars nursing a new born baby, after becoming pregnant while confined at the Bordelais Correctional Facility.
The group had taken the Division to task claiming that it had failed the teenager, a report the Division has since denied stating that it is committed to the protection of all children and juveniles.
A brief outlined by the Division showing how the teenager ended at the correctional facility and how it should not be blamed for that development did not appease the group which has called for the teenager to be released from prison.