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By Julita Peter

September 11, 1998 - The Minister of Health, Human Services and Gender Affairs the Hon Sarah Flood, says her Ministry is continuing efforts to ensure that cases involving violence against women and girls are brought to justice. Ms. Flood made this remark during a press statement on Thursday. The Minister has added a voice of deep concern with regard to the controversy surrounding the rape and death of Tricia Dennis, and the subsequent inability of the authorities to solve this crime.

Flood - "In the debate of the horrific rape and death of Tricia Dennis we seem to forget what the last twenty or thirty minutes of life for this vibrant young child must have been like and also forget or are not reminded that many victims of such crimes who live, continue to face psychological trauma, and sometimes the stigma attached to being raped or sexually abused as though the victims themselves are responsible for the abuse".

The Minister added that the increase in violence against women is in all probability, higher than what actual reports reflect. This she says is due to failure on the part of society to report such cases, and its non -consideration of child sexual abuse as an urgent dilemma.

Minister Flood believes the rape and death of Tricia Dennis is one more example of crimes that only paid lip service has been paid in solving them. This she says is a sign of a serious deterioration of family life and the relation between genders in St. Lucian society. The Ministry of Gender Relations is of the view that besides the urgent need to improve the evidence collection and criminal-processing procedures in St. Lucia there is a more important task of prevention rather than cure.

For the first half of 1998 the reported cases of abuse to the St. Lucia Crises centre totaled one hundred and fifty-seven. In the case of child abuse there were only two reported cases involving male victims, while twenty-seven cases with female victims were reported.

 

 

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