Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 10:51 GMT

Antigua and Barbuda: Legal recourse and services available to women who are victims of domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 9 January 2007
Citation / Document Symbol ATG102092.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Antigua and Barbuda: Legal recourse and services available to women who are victims of domestic violence, 9 January 2007, ATG102092.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f146eb14.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Legal recourse

In 21 November 2006 correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs of the Ministry of Labour, Public Administration and Empowerment provided the following information on legal recourse available to women who are victims of domestic violence in Antigua and Barbuda. The Domestic Violence (Summary Proceedings) Act, 1999 provides a legal framework to protect victims of domestic violence. In the Domestic Violence Act, there are provisions for Protection Orders, Occupation Orders and Tenancy Orders. The Act strives to offer prompt assistance in the Magistrate Court for victims of domestic violence.

According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005, the Domestic Violence (Summary Proceedings) Act, 1999 "prohibits and provides penalties for domestic violence, rape, and other sexual offenses, with maximum sentences (rarely imposed) ranging from 10 years' to life imprisonment" (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 5).

No information on the application of Antigua and Barbuda's Domestic Violence (Summary Proceedings) Act, 1999 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Support Services

In 21 November 2006 correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs of the Ministry of Labour, Public Administration and Empowerment provided the following information on support services available to women who are victims of domestic violence in Antigua and Barbuda. According to the Executive Director, the Court Advocacy Service, a government program, provides support and assistance to victims of domestic violence who take legal action against domestic violence. Advocates "educate" the victims about the court system and attend court hearings with them. They also explain the legal process to victims and assist them "in making an application to court." In certain cases, advocates help victims "to obtain an attorney and [support them] through the court process and beyond." Additionally, a 24-hour crisis hotline provides advice and counselling to victims of domestic violence. A "walk-in service" for victims is also available. Furthermore, a support group for victims of domestic violence, facilitated by a counsellor, offers victims the opportunity to meet other people in the same situation "for support and reassurance." This information could not be corroborated by the Research Directorate among the sources consulted within the time constraints of this Response. No specific information on the use of these support services for victims of domestic violence could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

In her correspondence dated 21 November 2006, the Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs also noted that "training workshops for professionals dealing with domestic violence and public education using the print and electronic media are provided" by the Directorate of Gender Affairs. According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005, the Directorate of Gender Affairs also operates a "domestic violence program that include[s] training for police officers, magistrates, and judges" (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 5).

No further information on legal recourse and services available to women who are victims of domestic violence in Antigua and Barbuda could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Antigua and Barbuda. 21 November 2006. Ministry of Labour, Public Administration and Empowerment; Directorate of Gender Affairs. Correspondence from the Executive Director.

United States (US). 8 March 2006. Department of State. "Antigua and Barbuda." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 22 Nov. 2006]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Caribbean Office did not provide information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Caribbean Net News [Cayman Islands], Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Organization of American States (OAS), Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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