The Royal Grenada Police Force together with the Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment and other private stakeholders has launched a Special Victims Unit hotline.
At a special ceremony held at Police Headquarters, Fort George on Wednesday Acting Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin indicated that the unit would focus specifically on sexual offences, domestic violence and child abuse. He stated that sexual abuse and violent crimes pose a great public health threat to society in terms of morality, mortality, victimization and fear of crime in addition to the cost associated, to the criminal justice system to investigate, prosecute and manage both offenders and victims.
He added that despite the numbers of arrests that have been made, the public outcries, the number of marches, talk shows, public forums and programmes being held, the prevalence of these crimes not only continues but in fact have increased year on year.
Acknowledging the point of view that those crimes may not actually be increasing per se, the acting commissioner said that rather what would be the case is an increase in reporting due to advocacy, de-stigmatization and an increase in confidence with the law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
“I am of the view that whether the statistics are as a consequence of an actual increase or as a result of greater reporting, what is certain is that those crimes are unacceptably high and are a direct affront to the social and moral order of society and must be stopped”, he exclaimed
The purpose of the special unit, the commissioner indicated is to coordinate, monitor and provide guidance for effective and timely response and investigations to all incidents involving special victims and to collaborate with other entities and stakeholders to provide special intervention and support to the victims. This approach will provide the RGPF with the capacity to reach matters where individuals are exploited because of personal circumstance, persuasion or influence and will also assist in addressing the concerns that some adults are complicit in exposing kids to such abuse in the homes and community.
He implored upon members of the community with the responsibility and ability, to support the approach by providing information on suspected cases anonymously through a hotline that has been set up by FLOW Grenada. The unit will be embedded within the Criminal Investigation Department. It will be headed by Inspector Victor who holds a Bachelor’s degree in physiology and master’s in public health, in addition to twenty years of policing experience.
The unit he noted would have federal authority, which means that they will be notified of every case and will have the authority to intervene, question and guide the investigative process. They will maintain a close working relationship with the Child Protection Authority and the Ministry of Social Development on all matters especially as it relates to supporting of victims. The main aim is to achieve a proactive prevention and early intervention as well as to ensure a thorough investigation of all cases and support for victims at all levels.
The hotline would be in operation as of Monday 24th September 2018.