DIRECTOR of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West has described complaints by rape victims about their interaction with police as a “disturbing trend” and says the PCA will be looking into the matters.
He was responding to newspaper reports on the presentation by Rape Crisis Society management member Marian Taylor on Monday at the launch of Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain.
Taylor said Rape Crisis clients reported issues with the police, medical professionals and with the court. On the police, survivors reported officers not believing them when they made reports; investigative officers “disappearing” and efforts to contact them being futile; and an extended period between the complaint being made and the perpetrator being arrested, sometimes three to six months.
“Survivors also claimed that they received no support from the police while giving statements and at times they felt like criminals because of the treatment meted out to them,” she reported. West told Newsday yesterday in a brief telephone interview he had seen the newspaper reports and the PCA will have to enquire into these matters.
“Once that happens we will take it from there.”
He said the PCA does not have any names but once it receives that information it will take the process forward. Asked if the PCA had received similar complaints in the past, West said he did not have that data available.
“This trend is disturbing though,” he added.
The Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region were created by the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project in the Caribbean, an initiative of the Canadian government, and in collaboration with the Caribbean Court of Justice and regional judiciaries.