300 sexual evidence kits received to enhance justice for hinterland women
A total of 300 Sexual Assault Evidence collection kits valued at $3.7 million were delivered to the Ministry of Health and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to increase justice for women in remote Amerindian communities, which are prone to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
SGBV cases are sometimes dismissed in the courts due to inadmissible evidence. However, these kits will ensure that evidence is properly collected, and perpetrators will face the full brunt of the law.
This donation is part of the Justice Education Society (JES) project funded by Global Affairs Canada, ‘Strengthening Justice for Women, Girls and Indigenous People.’
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, and Commander of 4C, Senior Superintendent Khali Pareshram received the kits on Friday from JES Project Director and Country Representative, Lisa Thompson, and Head of Development Cooperation for Guyana in the High Commission of Canada, Adam Loyer.
During the simple at the ministry’s Brickdam office, Minister Anthony underscored the need for trained professionals to properly collect evidence to prevent SGBV cases from being dismissed.
Although the project is primarily for Regions One and Four, “We certainly would work with our professionals to make sure that they’re properly trained especially at our emergency rooms…We would also use the opportunity to train our healthcare staff in all our emergency rooms across the country,” he stated.
Dr Anthony highlighted several partnerships with Canada that are ongoing targetting specific groups such as mental health and children, among others.
“We’re grateful for this type of collaboration, and cooperation with Canada and I think what we’re witnessing here is another such gesture where Canada has chosen an area that is of extreme importance to us,” he emphasised.
Additionally, Commander Pareshram thanked the JES and the High Commission of Guyana for continuously partnering and supporting the improvement of the services offered by the police force.
“We are very thankful for this donation today because technology is one of the main aspects of solving crime, that is the way the world is moving…We are very thankful for this timely donation…This is a vast support to us,” the commander expressed.
Meanwhile, Thompson noted that health professionals will receive training on how to effectively use the evidence collection kits as part of the programme.
Accordingly, Loyer in brief remarks said the gesture demonstrates the Canadian government’s commitment to combatting sexual and gender-based violence.
The Justice Education Society of British Columbia is implementing a four-year programme to deliver greater equality in access to justice for women and girls who have experienced SGBV including those who live in remote communities in Regions One and Four.