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Country’s lack of capacity to analyse rape kits criticised

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe, a representative from the RBPF, Bahamas Bar President Khalil Parker and Bahamas Christian Council president Delton Fernander were panellists at the Rotary Club’s forum on crime and solutions to crime. 
Photo: Moise Amisial

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe, a representative from the RBPF, Bahamas Bar President Khalil Parker and Bahamas Christian Council president Delton Fernander were panellists at the Rotary Club’s forum on crime and solutions to crime. Photo: Moise Amisial

By JADE RUSSELL

Tribune Staff Reporter

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Crisis Centre Director Dr Sandra Dean-Patterson said for the last 30 years, sufficient capacity to analyse the evidence in rape kits has not existed, resulting in sexually assaulted victims being vigorously interrogated in court to prove their case.

“You know, it’s just unbelievable to me that we still do not have the capacity to analyse information in rape kits that are collected over the years,” she said. “We don’t have that. So, we put our victims in a position where they have to be interrogated, torn apart in the court when we could if we had the capacity to have this evidence analysed, that would speak for itself.”

Dr Dean-Patterson spoke during a Q&A session after the Rotary Club of Nassau hosted panellists to discuss solutions to crime at St James Native Baptist Church. Dr Dean-Patterson was not an official panellist.

National Security Minister Wayne Munroe, Bahamas Bar President Khalil Parker and Bahamas Christian Council President Delton Fernander were panellists.

Mr Munroe said police are focusing on how to make it easier and more comfortable for women to report sexual offences.

Dr Dean-Patterson was asked about solutions to curb violence against women.

She said that local resources are still lacking to help rape victims.

“When a person is raped and they go to the hospital, the evidence is taken,” she told reporters after the event. “But unfortunately, up to now, we haven’t been able to analyse it locally.

“And so, a lot of times, the cases depend on the stories of the victim. So victims are put through a whole lot of horrendous things during the courts because we don’t have access to that kind of information. So, hopefully, the minister is saying that we’re moving on that at last, 30 years later. So we’re looking forward to seeing it.”

Dr Dean-Patterson added she has spoken to Minister Munroe about her concerns.

She said many women and children are struggling in various ways.

“We have reports of women living in their cars because they have been evicted or they don’t have the kind of resources,” she said. “There’s a lot more that we can do to resource our family court system so that we can prevent persons from being in situations where they don’t have money, and they don’t have things to call on. So we have a lot of work to do.”

Comments

DiverBelow 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Incredibly, we are able to send & receive packages to US quite readily. If there are no facilities to process rape kits in country, there are labs in Florida. They may be backlogged, as rape is a common criminal act world-wide.

ScubaSteve 3 months, 4 weeks ago

This is absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable!! Are we living in 2024 or 1954? The solution is simple -- the Govt needs to purchase whatever piece of equipment that is necessary to process these rape kits. In fact, buy at least 5 of them and let's help protect the women of our country and ensure we can put the criminals behind bars. This isn't hard to figure out!!

rosiepi 3 months, 4 weeks ago

So are rape kits not sent stateside for analysis? Only in some cases? Why would the police give false assurance to rape victims undergoing the process?

Was this one of the reasons given by police in their attempts to dissuade the two American rape victims at Pirate’s Cove from filing a report? ie besides lying to them that they’d spoken with the US Embassy and they weren’t prepared to help them? What heck is going on here??

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