Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 08, 2021 (SKNIS): The Special Victims Unit (SVU) of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force in St. Kitts and Nevis, which was established to investigate crimes of physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, as well as crimes against children in conjunction with the Child Protective Services, is guided by the Domestic Violence Act of 2014, said Detective Sergeant Consie Rogers, Head of the SVU.
The Domestic Violence Act of 2014 provides the legislative framework for addressing domestic violence and issuing protection orders.
“We have to operate under that Act and that Act doesn’t give the police that authority to make applications for a restraining order, injunction protection order,” said Detective Sergeant Rogers, during her July 07 appearance on Working for You, adding that the Domestic Violence Act of 2000 provided the police with such authority. “So before time, when we were operating under the 2000 Act, we used to make the applications on behalf of the victims and file them at the Magistrate’s Court and these matters were heard… and the applications were granted in most cases and we were able to get a lot of cases dealt with at the Magistrate’s Court.”
Detective Sergeant Rogers said that the authority now lies with lawyers of the victims and these cases are now tried at the High Court. However, if a person cannot afford a lawyer they can utilize the services of the Legal Aid Clinic.
“They could do the application on their behalf. If they want an injunction protection order or if they want that perpetrator to be warned they can write them a warning letter,” she said. “Also from the police end, if that person doesn’t want that matter to go to court they can ask the police to warn that person or if they want the matter to go to court we will take the matter to court. We can arrest that person or proceed by summons.”
Detective Sergeant Rogers said that the SVU always informs the victims about the different options that are available to them so that they can choose which one they prefer.