During a private motion in the Senate yesterday, which addressed deficiencies in dealing with violent crimes against women and girls, Independent Senator Paul Richards said that Trinidad and Tobago’s systems have continuously failed those who are abused, assaulted and violated.
But, during today’s TTPS media briefing, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith denied the senator’s claim.
He said “Every day sometimes most of these atrocities are never reported and even when they are reported in some instances, the systems fail our girls and women. Families, friends, communities, religious leaders, the judiciary and the legislative in some instances we all fail… Reports are made, in some instances charges are laid and when these things happen, we fail, we all fail,” said Richards.
Richards also said that while cases of violence against women have encouraged women to share their experiences, these cases were not followed up or solved by the police.
Griffith took offence at this and said the Senator clearly did no research to support his claim. He said that such a statement by a public official may deter victims from reporting their experiences.
“Senator Richards as with many will always go back to what was going wrong several years ago to try to up the matter of concern and to put more emotion into it, What Senator Richards would have done unfortunately is to misinform the public without doing any research and we can actually look with what he has said because such comments by a public official could very well have far reach effects on victims and survivors where they may now feel as though making a report may be an exercise in futility.”
Griffith added: “We have data to show Senator Richards is again going back to a few years ago when there were problems. Since the Gender based violence unit has been formed there have been hundreds of women who have come forward and dealt with in a professional manner and they can all state that in contrast to what senator Richards said, it is totally false and misleading,” he said.
He said ”It is not the first time Senator Richards has done this just a few weeks ago. There was a situation where police were involved in a situation, they went on a patrol and because the senator finds that police officers shouldn’t be involved in having their weapons in house dining, he thinks that police should only have their weapons if they go in a rum shop, and he made a comment to the public. Just four days later there was a shooting at that same place. So, if we had listened to the views of Senator Richards, the officers would have been forced to protect themselves with a notebook and pen based on his concept,” said Griffith.
Griffith said that the Sexual Offences Unit is soon to be launched to work with other units in dealing with violence against women and girls.