Urgent call for safe place in Saint Lucia for victims of domestic violence

St. Lucia News Online

An organisation which advocates on behalf of women and children who are victims of violence is raising concerns that crimes against females are on the rise in Saint Lucia.

To further compound the problem, Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia said finding shelter for victim of domestic violence is a huge problem.

It is now calling for a safe place for victims of domestic violence.

“Our greatest challenge is to find shelter for a domestic violence victim who needs a safe place urgently,” the organisation said in a statement. “We have no public housing and the lone domestic violence shelter in St. Lucia can only accommodate five families at a time and is always at capacity.”

According to the organisation, official statistics collected by government agencies, domestic violence and other crimes against women and girls is on the rise but no new facilities or services are being provided by the state.

“Quite often we get calls to say ‘a women is a victim of domestic violence she fears for her life, she needs a place to stay,’ we call the domestic violence shelter and they are often times at capacity,” the organisation lamented. “Our volunteers are asked to shelter victims, then subsequently we find an apartment from a private landlord, funding does not permit us to afford a stand alone apartment for each domestic violence victim, specifically those with children so we are setting up a safe house for urgent situations.”

The organisation said to save life there is an urgent need of a safe space for victims of domestic violence.

“There is a need to establish safe spaces, meanwhile domestic homicide has escalated, while some women become homeless resorting to sleeping on the streets with children,” Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia stated. “We want women to have a safe space to go when they feel threatened by domestic abusers. This effort to establish a safe house will provide a safe space for at least five women and their children at a time.”

The organisation has volunteered to work with victims and make them feel safe as they think, regroup, get counselling to determine their next course of action, while they are empowered to reintegrate safely into society.

“We hope this will inspire other organisations to set up safe houses to save the lives of women and provide much needed support and services for victims of domestic violence in St. Lucia,” it said.

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia said its mission is to promote and facilitate the elimination of domestic violence by offering support services, counselling and education to women and children affected by domestic violence.