Information on incest and rape of minors, including treatment available for victims, support systems for minors, protection against further attacks, legal representation of victims and restraining orders; and information on laws against the rape and incest of minors, including penalties and process involved. [GRD23157.E]

The following information was provided in a 22 February 1996 interview with the vice-president of the Grenadian National Organization of Women (GNOW) and past-president and advisor to the board of directors of the Young Women's Christian Association of Grenada.

The source indicated that until recently there were no laws on incest in Grenada. In terms of services available to the victims, the source stated that children and their parents have access to the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic (LACC), which provides legal services at "a nominal charge that is within reach of most Grenadians" (22 Feb. 1996).

The source indicated that there are no shelters to protect victims of domestic violence (such as rape, battering or incest) in Grenada, but that GNOW is in the process of trying to establish such a facility on the islands. According to the source, there is no national agency or publicly funded programmes committed to dealing with these issues.

A general treatment and support programme is available to all victims of domestic or sexual abuse in the form of two counsellors on staff at the LACC in St. George's. Youth with problems, not only limited to incest, also have access to two counsellors working in the schools on behalf of the ministry of education. GNOW has called for a clinical psychologist to be added to the roster of counsellors dealing with these issues and other forms of domestic violence. GNOW has also petitioned the government to fund an increase in the number of LACC counsellors to six, in order to place one counsellor in each the country's six parishes.

Incest and rape cases are usually tried in regular magistrate courts on along with other domestic violence cases during specific periods known as 'family matters days'. The court is cleared and no outsiders are permitted to attend the trial. The decision to clear the court is at the discretion of the judge, although routinely observed. The source indicated that she did not believe it is possible at this time to get a restraining order against the accused. She stated that under current legislation it would be possible for the perpetrator to continue to live in the same residence as the accusor and/or victim for the duration of the trial process. She further noted that there are no legal barriers to prevent the accused from making personal contact with the accusor and/or victim during this period. The magistrate act is currently being reviewed before cabinet and GNOW is lobbying the government to ensure that all domestic violence cases are heard in-camera. GNOW has also petitioned that clearing the court for such cases be mandatory, and that legal protection be afforded to victims.

In a 26 February 1996 interview, the co-ordinator of legal matters with the LACC in Grenada stated that the Incest Law of 1993 is part of the Criminal Code of Grenada and highlighted that

if a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person under thirteen years of age whom he knows to be his daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt or niece he commits an offense, namely incest. This offense is punishable by fifteen years imprisonment. If the female person is above 13 years of age, the offense carries five years imprisonment. It must be noted that the incest law says that the female person commits an offense too if she is 10 years or over and consents to sexual intercourse with a male person whom she knows to be her father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, or nephew. In the cases just noted, a person has no defense to a charge of incest to say that a female person consented to sex or where it is a female person charged, that a male person consented to sex, vice-versa. The law also considers incest to occur where any person over the age of twenty-one years has sex with another person under thirteen years who is his or her stepchild, foster child, ward or dependent in his or her custody. This offense is punishable by 15 years imprisonment. Where, however, this stepchild, foster child, ward or dependent is over the age of thirteen years, the offense is punishable by five years. One major exception to this category of incest; a person will not be guilty of an offense if he or she is lawfully married to this stepchild, foster child, ward or dependent.

The source observed that the law made no mention of incest among cousins. She also admitted that there are no specific provisions in the law for homosexual incest, but was of the opinion that this matter would be dealt with under the existing criminal code. The source also noted that there are no special laws for sexual harassment or rape of minors, but that prosecution relies on the general provisions of criminal law dealing with indecent assault and rape.

There is no legal protection or recognition for rape occurring in marriage and no provisions in the law for the recognition of common-law status in a relationship. The source did note that persons involved in common-law relationships would be prosecuted under the existing provisions of the incest law.

The source confirmed that prosecution for incest charges occurs in regular magistrate courts and that the courtrooms are cleared as a matter of routine, with only members of the family allowed to remain and observe the trial proceedings. Restraining orders against the accused can be obtained from the Grenadian High Court, but the cost is prohibitive and can take a long period of time to obtain the orders, within which the life of the accusor and/or victim could be put in danger, thus making this option impractical.

Please find attached media reports on youth and domestic violence issues in Grenada.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic, St George's, Grenada. 26 February 1996. Telephone interview with co-ordinator of legal matters.

Young Women's Christian Association Grenada, St. George's, Grenada. 22 February 1996. Telephone interview with past-president and advisor to the board of directors.


Inter Press Service. 13 September 1993. "Caribbean: Women Trying to Inform, Protect Against Discrimination." (NEXIS)

Xinhua General Overseas News Service. 30 April 1987. "Sex Education Said Necessary to Curb Caribbean Population Growth." (NEXIS)