Press Release: I wish to clarify the statements made in the interview aired on ABS on Wednesday morning. The government of Antigua and Barbuda regards violence against women and girls as unconscionable and is committed to providing appropriate care to victims when it occurs, and to increasing survivors’ access to justice under the law. However, I cannot overemphasize the importance of raising public consciousness about gender-based violence in an effort to eradicate it from our shores.
Through Antigua and Barbuda Support And Referral Centre, the Directorate of Gender Affairs uses a client-centred approach to provide a range of services for survivors of gender-based violence. These include client advocacy, crisis counselling, forensic medical examinations, referrals, safety planning and emergency accommodations.
There are five (5) entry points that allow survivors of gender-based violence to access these services. These are the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the National Gender-based Violence Crisis Hotline, the Antigua Barbuda Support And Referral Centre, and the non-governmental organization, Women Against Rape. The Directorate of Gender Affairs works in collaboration with all these agencies to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence have access to high-quality, confidential care and services.
Additionally, Antigua and Barbuda’s legal framework actively condemns violence against women and girls through legislation like the Domestic Violence Act (2015), and the Sexual Offences Act. In Antigua and Barbuda, a juvenile under the age of 16 cannot consent to having sex and any adult who engages in sexual acts with a minor under age 16 has violated the law and commits a criminal act. He or she is subject to prosecution.
The Antigua Barbuda Support And Referral Centre is available to provide information and access to services 24/7 through the National Gender-based Violence Crisis Hotline at 463-5555.
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