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Grenada: Update to GRD34358.E of 11 May 2000 on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill in 2000; Police response and support for domestic violence victims; update to GRD19906.E of 21 February 1995 on the recourse and facilities available to victims of spousal abuse

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 9 May 2003
Citation / Document Symbol GRD41543.E
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Grenada: Update to GRD34358.E of 11 May 2000 on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill in 2000; Police response and support for domestic violence victims; update to GRD19906.E of 21 February 1995 on the recourse and facilities available to victims of spousal abuse , 9 May 2003, GRD41543.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4d9ea.html [accessed 30 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.

For information on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Bill and the police response to, and support available for, victims of domestic violence in 2001 and 2002, see the Responses GRD37982.E of 23 October 2001, GRD38096.E of 9 November 2001 and GRD38360.E of 1 February 2002, which update GRD34358.E of 11 May 2000.

The domestic violence legislation, enacted in May 2001, "provides for penalties [such as] jail sentences, fines, community services and provisions for issuance of restraining orders" (UN 27 Feb. 2003, 249).

During a telephone interview with the director of the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic, a major unit in Grenada that deals with domestic violence cases in St. Georges, Grenada, the director stated that implementation of the legislation on domestic violence has had a "moderate impact" on police response (Legal Aid 2 May 2003). Since the adoption of the Bill, a training programme, provided by the non-governmental organization, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), has been established to sensitize the police and social workers to the domestic violence issue (ibid.). A public awareness campaign, promoted through brochures, conferences and sensitization events by the government's Division of Women's Affairs has also been carried out (UN 27 Feb. 2003, 249).

The Ministry of Gender and Family Affairs has publicised, in newspapers, its intention to set up a Domestic Violence Unit but no details have been made available as to what this Unit will entail (Legal Aid 2 May 2003). During a telephone interview, the coordinator of the Domestic Violence Unit, of the Gender and Family Affairs Ministry, stated that they are just beginning to set up a Domestic Violence Unit which will support the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (Grenada 5 May 2003). The system provided by the Ministry of Gender and Family Affairs up until now was "not organized" (ibid.). The services that were provided were referral services : women were either referred to the police, to Legal Aid or to the shelter depending on their situation (ibid.). In contrast, the new Domestic Violence Unit will provide on-site counselling and legal services. It will consist of a coordinator, a part-time counsellor and a legal advisor; the coordinator is the only one to have been determined for the time being (ibid.). The Unit will maintain a close relationship with non-governmental organizations such as the Legal Aid and Counseling Clinic (ibid.). In addition, in every police station, there will be one police officer trained in domestic violence who will be assigned to deal with the Unit (ibid.). The coordinator said that this Unit should "hopefully" be set up and running within the next few months (ibid.).

The Unit now has an office space set up and is hoping to meet with the legal affairs department to obtain guidance on the new legal proceedings to be followed (ibid.). The Unit will help with the enforcement of the Domestic Violence Act by having the proper forms available to fill out, such as forms for court actions or restraining orders (ibid.). However, because the Unit is still in development, "enforcement is not as it should be" (ibid.). T(Legal Aid 2 May 2003). For example, the intention of the legislation is to hold the proceedings before the Magistrate Court, yet the High Court, which is more difficult to access and more expensive, is still the place where the proceedings take place (ibid.).

A hotline for women in distress was publicized, but the director of the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic has called it several times without being answered, and concluded that there is no one there to pick up the phone (ibid.).Unit stated that they "hope to have a hotline in place" sometime in the future (Grenada 5 May 2003).

Both oral sources confirmed that there is one shelter for victims of domestic violence (ibid.; Legal Aid 2 May 2003).Legal Aid 2 May 2003). She said "they are not 'professional counsellors'" (ibid.). The shelter has no legal advisors, it refers the women to the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic (ibid.).

With only one unarmed security officer and no police presence, there is "no serious guarantee of protection" at the shelter (ibid.) Everyone knows its whereabouts so that "a husband could easily find his wife if he wanted to" (ibid.). Sometimes the women have to be sent secretly to another island for their protection (ibid.).

The Legal aid director gave some examples of security issues concerning women in domestic violence situations. In 2002, one of the women who had come to the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic to seek help, was later murdered by her husband (ibid.). Another woman, who was in hiding in Trinidad and Tobago, was also murdered by her husband after he found her there (ibid.). Recently, a man went to England to look for his wife who was also in hiding there (ibid.). He was arrested and is in the process of being extradited to Grenada (ibid.). These are the more recent cases, but according to the Legal Aid director, "there have been many more" (ibid.).

In 2002, 15 per cent of the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic cases were direct complaints of domestic violence; in addition, 12.2 per cent of the Clinic's family conflict cases involved domestic violence matters, and 6.8 per cent of it's divorce cases were based on domestic violence

The coordinator of the Domestic Violence Unit was not personally aware of the effectiveness of police response, but she had heard that some cases of domestic violence were "not taken seriously" (Grenada 5 May 2003). Expanding on her answer, she said that "the police are slow to act in some cases" and that "there is a lack of respect for the women making complaints" (ibid.). The Legal Aid director said that The director summed up the situation as she sees it by saying that "there is a lack of response" on the part of the police (ibid.).

The Commission on Human Rights reports that Grenada has yet to submit its reports on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which were due on 29 September 1991, 1995 and 1999 (UN 27 Feb. 2003, 249). In 2000 Grenada ratified the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Violence against Women (ibid.). According to the Special Rapporteur on violence against women of the Commission on Human Rights, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the police say that most domestic violence cases are not reported and are dealt with outside the legal system (ibid.). Coomaraswamy raised as an issue of concern the "lack of sensitivity of policymakers and public officials in key positions" as well as the "inadequate resources and infrastructures to support victims of violence and their families" (ibid.).

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Grenada. 5 May 2003. Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Social Security, Culture, Gender and Family Affairs. Telephone interview with the coordinator of the Domestic Violence Unit.

Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic, St. Georges, Grenada. 2 May 2003. Telephone interview with the director.

United Nations (UN). 27 February 2003. Commission on Human rights. "Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective" (E/CN.4/2003/75/Add.1) [Accessed 1 May 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

Unsuccessful attempt to contact the Grenada police department.

Internet sites, including:

BBC World News

Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA)

Grenada Today [St George's]

Grened

Human Rights Internet (HRI)

Isis International

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

The Grenadian Voice [St George's]

UNICEF

United Nations Survey on Crime Trends

Women's Human Rights net

Women's International Network News - 2001 to Present

Search engine:

Google

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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