The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project launched the Model Guidelines for Sexual Offences in the Caribbean Region (Guidelines) in 2017. The Guidelines represent best practices to respond to sexual and gender-based violence in the Caribbean. In the subsequent five years since the launch of this initiative, the Guidelines have been formally adopted and implemented by Antigua and Barbuda, and Guyana.
The Project continues to work closely with the Antigua and Barbuda High Court, and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) to ensure the successful implementation of the Guidelines through the Sexual Offences Model Court (SOMC). Furthermore, Guyana, has since established three specialised courts for sexual offences cases, together with other judiciaries in the region which have expressed a desire to follow.
In March 2022, a Knowledge Exchange was held with approximately 76 multi-sectoral stakeholders in attendance, from the Sexual Offences Model Courts in Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, as well as, other relevant regional and international organisations.
The Knowledge Exchange resulted in the development of several knowledge products that shall serve as accompanying documents to the revised Guidelines. One recommendation arising from the Knowledge Exchange was the need to review and amend the Guidelines, taking into consideration the experiences over the past five years of its implementation in the Caribbean.
In July 2022, the Project embarked on a process to review and revise the Guidelines in keeping with new and emerging best practices, lessons learned, improved technology, legislative and judicial reforms, across the region.
The revised Guidelines have been developed to capture all these changes and on October 20, 2022 the Project will host a virtual sensitisation session for judicial officers from regional judiciaries.
Following that session, a virtual launch will be held on October 21, 2022. Speakers at the launch will include the Honourable Mme. Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Judge, Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); the Honourable Mme. Justice Roxanne George – Wiltshire, Chief Justice (ag), Guyana; Ms. Abebech Assefa, Counsellor Development and Head of Cooperation for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Government of Canada; and Mrs. Gloria Richards-Johnson, Director, JURIST Project.
Sensitisation SessionSensitisation - Model Guidelines for Sexual Offences Cases