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Trinidad and Tobago: Information on whether the government elected 6 November 1995 has announced new policies on domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 February 1996
Citation / Document Symbol TTO23091.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Trinidad and Tobago: Information on whether the government elected 6 November 1995 has announced new policies on domestic violence, 1 February 1996, TTO23091.E, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
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.


The following information was provided during a 7 February 1996 telephone interview with a project officer from the Women's Affairs Division of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Women's Affairs of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

The source stated that to date no new policies have been drafted and no new legislation has been tabled as "the government house is still settling down."

According to the source, Community Development, Culture and Women's Affairs minister Daphne Phillips has publicly supported "increased legislation around domestic violence, and hopes to include such concepts as conflict resolution and preventative measures into the judicial process." The minister has also been quoted in the media to being committed to providing more services for abused women, likely in the form of government support for shelters for abused women. The source added that several prominent NGOs, such as the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) and the Women's Research and Resource Centre, are pressuring for changes to the Domestic Violence Act. For a brief summary of CAFRA policy recommendations regarding the Domestic Violence Act, please consult the attachment.

                As no policy changes have been announced since the November 1995 elections, the source indicated that the applicable legislation is still the Domestic Violence Act of 1991 and the Sexual Violence Act of 1986. For a copy of the Domestic Violence Act of 1991, please refer to the Response to Information Request TTO17528.E of 14 June 1994. Please see the November 1993 DIRB Human Rights Brief, Women in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for a more detailed discussion of the cultural context and an interpretation of existing legislation. Responses to Information Requests TTO14540 and TTO14151 of 18 June 1993 provide information on irregularities in the enforcement of this legislation. These Responses are available at Regional Documentation Centres.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB 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 sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


        Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Women's Affairs. Women's Affairs Division, Port of Spain. 7 February 1996. Telephone interview with project officer.


        WIN News [Lexington, Mass.]. Summer 1995. Vol. 21, No. 3. "CAFRA Demands a Stop to Violence Against Women and Children." p. 41.

Additional Sources Consulted

        CAFRA News. 1994-1995, Vol. 8, No. 4 and Vol. 9, No. 1.

DIRB Amnesty International "Trinidad and Tobago" country file. January 1994 to present.

DIRB "Trinidad and Tobago" country file. February 1991 to present.

DIRB Information Package: Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. 1995. Ottawa: IRB.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [Washington, D.C.]. 1994. U.S. Department of State.

WIN News. 1995. Vol. 21, No. 1-4.

Women of the Caribbean. 1986. edited by Pat Ellis. London: Zed Books.

On-line searches of media sources

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