Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 12, 2021 (SKNIS): During the July 7, 2021 edition of SKNIS’ “Working For You”, members of the Special Victims Unit (SVU) of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force were guests to discuss a wide range of issues related to domestic violence and abuse affecting individuals across the Federation. Head of the SVU, Detective Sergeant Rogers indicated that there has been no increase in rape cases across the Federation over the previous period of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We do not have an increase of rapes, but we do have some sexual offense cases such as unlawful carnal knowledge; we have a few indecent assaults under investigation and we just have a couple of rape investigations underway. The most recent rape report we received was last week… There is no statute of limitations in relation to prosecuting sexual offenses. Persons are urged to contact the SVU on-call phone at 662-7077 to make a report on any issues of this nature,”said Detective Sergeant Rogers.
Detective Sergeant Rogers further indicated that some of the processes currently in place to assist victims of sexual offenses are being bottle-necked due to the cost attached. She further urged policy makers to amend the Domestic Violence Act of 2014 in an effort to better assist victims across the Federation.
“Since the new act has been gazetted and we no longer make the application for the injunction protection order, persons will have to go to a lawyer to make that application to the high court and it will be a cost to the person who requires the order. If amendments are made to the Domestic Violence Act of 2014, the Police would be given the authority to apply for these orders on behalf of the victims because it is very hard for some people to afford to make the applications for the restraining order. Sometimes I call Legal Aid and try to find a lawyer for various persons in an effort to get them some help”, said Detective Sergeant Rogers.
The Special Victims Unit also works closely with certain stakeholders such as the Department of Probation and Child Protection Services when there are juvenile-related matters and the Department of Gender Affairs when there are cases of gender-based violence.