by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Constable Amos Tittle – Police Officer assigned to the Special Victims Unit, said there has been an increase in sexual offences in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Just to add some context, in 2022, the Department would have dealt with a total of 1,157 reports. What is concerning is [that] about 60% were sexual offences…”Sexual offences in general, but the majority would have been minors,” said Tittle, during the Thursday, May 25 edition of ‘Policing with You’.
According to Tittle, most sexual offence cases brought before the Special Victims Unit were committed against minors. He emphasised the importance of an all-of-society approach to ensure that children are protected.
“Unfortunately, currently, we are seeing an increase in sexual offences, especially those committed against minors; and I think that is cause for concern, not just for the police or Probation Unit but also for the community. We have a responsibility to protect our youth to ensure that they are not exposed to the trauma that comes as a result of being exposed to sexual molestation, whether it’s by a family friend, a family person or whomever it is.
Tittle added, “We as a community, we need to come together in a collaborative effort and really take a closer look at our children, ensure we open the lines of communication, ensure that they feel comfortable talking about things that are affecting them and I think by doing, that we’ve got to also put the preventative measures in place; that they know who to go to, what to say, what to do in these situations and also assist the police in solving a lot of these cases.”
Constable Tashika Millington, who was also a guest on ‘Policing With You’, explained the procedure that investigators take when processing matters that are brought to the Special Victims Unit.
“The investigative procedures for legal implications at the Special Victims Unit; the officer will conduct a follow-up investigation into the report which was made. The victim or victims would be called via landline or cell phone and request of them to come to the unit and give a written statement; then, the investigating officer will detect the offence or offences based on the information provided in the official statement. The investigator will continue their investigations and collect the necessary evidence that is needed to prove the offence in the matter; then, they will prefer a criminal charge upon the perpetrator and formulate a case file which will be forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution for case submission. Therefore all persons who are involved in the matter will now await a trial which is set by the court.”
On the other hand, if an individual needs a Restraining Order or an Injunction Order, they are advised by the police to seek legal advice from their lawyer, who would then make an application to the Basseterre Magistrate Court on their behalf,” Millington further explained.
The Special Victims Unit was established in 2012 because of the rise in sexual-related offences in the country, both domestic and juvenile cases. The Special Victims Unit investigates sexual offences such as rape, unlawful carnal knowledge, incest, buggery, indecent assault, exposing your person in public, wounding with intent, as well as matters of domestic disputes.