IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Author)
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
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
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
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
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
Inter Press Service. 13 September 1993.
"Caribbean: Women Trying to Inform, Protect Against
Xinhua General Overseas News Service. 30
April 1987. "Sex Education Said Necessary to Curb Caribbean
Population Growth." (NEXIS)