Greater gender equality for OECS children in conflict with the law!

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OECS Media Release

Friday, March 5, 2021 — Close to 50 juvenile justice reform stakeholders across the OECS participated in a virtual conference to highlight and discuss gender issues relating to Juvenile Justice Reform. The main aim of the conference, hosted by the USAID/OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) II, was to highlight the role of gender in the administration of juvenile justice.

Discussions examined challenges such as how harmful perceptions of masculinity are being perpetuated, and the lack of interventions tailored to girls’ successful rehabilitation. Participants also discussed how juvenile justice service providers can come to terms with their own personal views and biases on issues related to youth justice and the delivery of services to young people in conflict with the law. They also discussed gender concepts and considerations that should be the basis for effective juvenile justice planning, programming, and decision making.

Speaking on the workshop and its impact, JJRP Technical Specialist, Shahini Gravilis said,

The workshop was very well attended and included a broad cross section of stakeholders…police, probation officers, juvenile facility managers, JJRP focal points and social services. It is so important for these stakeholders to understand the various gender issues and biases that we and society have, and how this can negatively impact outcomes for the youth of the OECS. I believe this programme brought to light a number of strategies that the stakeholders can use in their everyday operations and dealings with juveniles in conflict with the law.”

Senior Programme Officer in the Division of Family Affairs – Grenada, Feona Sandy added,

It was a very beneficial workshop. The first of its kind for me, in terms of gender training, and I did not realise there are so many gender issues that can arise in the juvenile justice reform process. I now have a different perspective that will benefit the youth in conflict with the law with whom I engage. I particularly enjoyed the input and dialogue amongst the stakeholders from the other OECS islands. It highlighted that we all have similar issues across the countries and provided an avenue to learn from each other.”

Ms. Sandy is one of the programme attendees who deals daily with children in conflict with the law.

About OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project Phase II (JJRP)

The Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) Phase II, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and being implemented by the OECS Commission, deals specifically with children in conflict with the law and the provision of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration mechanisms for assisting children in the six (6) OECS independent Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Over the four years of JJRP Phase II, some key achievements include:

  • Child Justice legislation passed in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • A Legacy model and framework to guide the use of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration has been developed and is being adopted in all of the countries.
  • Diversion and rehabilitation options being actively supported within partner countries.
  • Since 2016, 442 children have been diverted/given alternatives from arrest or custodial sentences, representing a more than 300 percent increase in the use of diversion.
  • 215 children in conflict with the law completed Aggression Replacement Training (ART®).
  • More than 1,400 service providers have been trained to improve the diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration services provided to children in conflict with the law and their families.

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