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On Monday 23

rd
June 2014 at the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, two
regional documents on Violence against Women were launched. These publications were
entitled Legal Aid for Women Victims of Gender Violence in the Caribbean and Plans and
Policies to Eradicate Violence against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
These documents were launched through collaboration between the Ministry of Gender,
Youth and Child Development and the United Nations Development Programme, Trinidad
and Tobago office. In attendance, was the Honourable Clifton De Coteau, Minister of the
Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Ms Sandra Jones Permanent Secretary
in the Ministry, Mrs Aurora Noguera-Ramkissoon of the United Nations Population Fund,
Mrs Isele Robinson-Cooper, UNDP Programme Analyst, Poverty and Social Policy and
other specially invited guests from local UN agencies and the Ministry.
The main theme of the launch highlighted the need to protect our regions women and
girls while fighting against gender inequality. Ms Jones highlighted that Violence against
Women is a social ill that should be treated with international concern as it violates human
rights and fundamental freedoms. Mrs Noguera-Ramkissoon provided insight by stating
that domestic violence is underreported and two-thirds of victims are female. Based on
data collected in 2012, there were higher levels of sexual assault and 35.4% of total persons
murdered in that year in Trinidad and Tobago were women.
Mrs Isele Robinson Cooper provided a PowerPoint presentation on the content of the two
publications, highlighting in particular the need for improved and more timely data on
Violence Against Women in Trinidad and Tobago. She also affirmed that according to the
Regional Comparative Analysis, the Caribbean is a region that has seen some of the most
dramatic levels of violence leveled against women, with a far-reaching impact on its
societies and economies. This was recently highlighted in the Caribbean Human
Development Report produced by the UNDP in 2012, which noted that 3 out of the 10
recorded rapes committed in the world occur in the Caribbean.
Recommendations were made for programmatic support and technical assistance that
emphasized support through the training of attorneys on gender and sexual violence. This
support would assist the government in developing capacity of the judiciary to collect and
analyze gender-disaggregated data on the handling and processing of sexual offences and
domestic violence cases. This included the processing times and conviction rates as a
means to gather clear baseline data on the effectiveness of the justice system and on
existing gaps in ensuring womens access to justice in Sexual and Gender-based Violence
cases.
In his feature address, Minister De Coteau stressed the need to improve human
development status and tackle the pitfalls that exist in local legislation. He also underlined
the importance of rehabilitation centres for those dejected persons in society, as well as
making specialized skills training available to low income female headed households. The
Minister indicated that Brutality is not a measure of Love and men need to be moulded
into responsible beings who respect women.
In conclusion, the launch was well attended and the regional documents were made
available in hard copy and soft copy, via flash drives, to all those in attendance. It is hoped
that through the dissemination of these publications and continued collaboration with the
Ministry and the UN agencies, measures would be put in place to dwindle and diminish
cases of violence against women in Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider Latin America and
Caribbean region.

Members of the UN staff attending the launch were:
Mrs. Isele Robinson-Cooper UNDP
Mrs. Aurora Noguera-Ramkissoon UNFPA
Mr. Lyndon Wright UNDP
Ms. Amanda Laurence UNIC
Ms. Jewel Ali IOM
Ms. Miriam Chipimo UNAIDS
Mrs. Rene Berryman-Sheppard UNV