JURIST Project launches model sexual offence guidelines

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A project has been launched to improve the way sexual offence cases are tackled in the region.
The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project launched its Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region at the weekend in Curaçao.
A release from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) states that the Guidelines are intended to provide internationally accepted best-practices for the management of sexual offence cases, and offer a rights-based approach to the treatment of complainants and vulnerable witnesses, including children.
The project is being executed by the CCJ   on behalf of the Conference of Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM.
Speaking at the launch, the CCJ’s Justice Rajnauth-Lee reportedly said that even though the CARICOM region had made progress in promoting gender equality, sexual violence perpetrated against women, girls and boys remains a significant problem.
The region, she said, experiences high levels of sexual violence, the majority of which is underreported and ineffectively dealt with by the justice system.
“A 2016 Baseline Study, commissioned by the JURIST Project and undertaken by UN Women, found that the justice system’s management of sexual offences and its treatment of complainants and witnesses remains uneven, uncoordinated (in relation to the relationship between justice sector actors who work along the justice chain with sexual offences) and continues to lead to the re-victimisation of survivors who seek protection and redress,” the CCJ Judge reportedly said.
The JURIST Project is a five-year regional Caribbean judicial reform initiative funded under a CAN $19 million arrangement with Global Affairs Canada. The CCJ and other regional partners are also contributing some CAN $4 million to the Project.
The Project has been working with judiciaries in the Caribbean to support their own efforts to improve court administration and strengthen the ability of the courts and the judiciary to resolve cases efficiently and fairly.

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