The recent spate of murders across St. Vincent and the Grenadines has stoked in the consciousness of Vincentians anxiety, pain and alarm over the continuos disregard for human lives. The Social Work Association of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SWASVG) is standing with all families affected by these murders in our country and are calling for all sectors of our society to denounce and to put into action what are needed to save our country.
As Social Workers, we are at the frontline of the risks and vulnerabilities of families and are aware of the pervasive issues in our society that break down family structures that are at the core of our societal demise.
The Vincentian population appears to be firm and fixed in an epidemic that does not get the attention that it rightfully deserves such as expansive funding, full national support and policies that protect and defend our women. We stand with our colleagues across the region who are bewildered that our Governments are not fully immersed in addressing the issues that are affecting the safety and security of our women and children.
Over the past year, the war that has been waged against the children, women and womanhood have taken a gruesome turn that has evolved in 2022 and leaving some of us in shock and numbness. Our children are growing up thinking that the female is disposable, has no value, powerless and is property to the male. Where parents and guardians are taking no responsibility for their children, where neglect and abuse coincides with the family breakdown.
A now identified hacked body of a 17 year old, sexual abuse cases, murders and stalkings, too many times our women seek help and are not given the sufficient attention by the institutions that were given the mandate to protect and safeguard Vincentians.
We need victim advocates who can offer support all stages especially interacting with the police so that they feel supported and confident. Our police officers need mandatory training for vulnerable populations. The country demands a judicial system that does not fail the victims and their families. We need more safe houses with trained personnel for families who experience Domestic Violence and other aspects of violence.
The age of sexual consent makes it easier for predators to argue their innocence and there is need for stricter penalties for perpetrators are some of the major actions needed to begin to turn the tide on this vicious cycle of violence.