Barbados will become the first country to launch the Model Guidelines for Sexual Offences in the Caribbean Region on Tuesday, October 17.
The official launch will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, beginning at 9:45 a.m.
Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, representative of the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Social Care Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Nalita Gajadhar, and Canadian High Commissioner, Marie Legault, will deliver remarks during the launch, which is hosted by the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project in collaboration with the Barbados judiciary.
The Model Guidelines for Sexual Offences in the Caribbean Region is the first of its kind in the CARICOM region, and are intended to provide internationally accepted best practices for the management of sexual offence cases.
They also form part of a comprehensive approach that seeks to address issues faced at the investigative, pre-trial and adjudicatory phases, and the offenders’ rehabilitation and management.
The guidelines also seek to offer a rights-based approach to the treatment of complaints and vulnerable witnesses, including children involved in sexual assault cases.
It is hoped that the Guidelines will be adopted by all countries in the region and that their implementation will result in the speedy adjudication of cases and reduction of case backlogs overtime.
The Guidelines are also expected to improve responses to survivors that would enable their full participation in the justice system, while increasing offender accountability and reduce secondary victimisation.
After implementation, the new guidelines will also bring with them a trained and skilled cadre of cross-sectional professionals including judges, court personnel, police and attorneys to efficiently respond to sexual assault cases, survivors and witnesses and increase public confidence in the justice system as it relates to the handling of sexual assault cases.