News Releases

UWI’s Institute for Gender and Development Studies speaks out on Gender-Based Violence in T&T

For Release Upon Receipt - February 19, 2016

St. Augustine

In one year, 11,382 new cases filed    

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. February 18, 2016 – The Institute for Gender and Development Studies, The UWI, says women and children are neither inconsequential, disposable nor natural victims. Similarly men are not natural predators.  None should be cast in such sexist roles. 

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is prevalent in the Caribbean. In a survey of 15,695 students 10 to 18 years old, Halcon and colleagues (2003) found that 34.1% of children in nine Caribbean countries were sexually active. In fact, 47.6% of females and 31.9% of males described their first intercourse as forced or somewhat coerced and attributed blame to family members or persons known to their family. In 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago, of all sexual offences recorded, only 49% resulted in arrests or charges. From 2011-2013, in 48.5%, 51% and 50% respectively, of the cases reported, persons were neither arrested nor charged.  According to the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Annual Report 2012-2013, 11,382 new domestic violence cases were filed in the Magistrates Court during that year. 

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are not exclusively personal matters, nor manifestations of household dysfunction. They are also larger development issues that must be managed as public policy priorities. How we understand, frame and represent these issues is germane to how we plan and manage them. Beyond our management, said the IGDS, there is critical need for fundamental collective ownership and revisiting individual assumptions about the factors that facilitate these forms of violence. It is only through this owning, that we will be forced to move beyond our fixation with apportioning moral blame, towards dismantling those gender systems that accommodate such violence. Societies do not only grow during periods of peace. The productive, deliberate use of conflict and crises are invaluable moments for advancement. 

The statement says, “We at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) consistent with our mission to advance social justice, promote gender-responsive human relations and development in the wider society, remain committed to women’s right to a life free from violence. We recognize the need to build a collective consciousness around such issues and will always support strongly, processes committed to the elimination of all forms of violence. 

For further information, please contact Ms. Deborah McFee, Outreach and Research Officer at 868-662-2002 exts. 83549 / 83573 / 82533, or access their department directory at




About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)