The State will not abandon child victims – Justice Ministry

Kingston, Jamaica – The Ministry of Justice, through the Victims Services Division (VSD), is committed to offering emotional and psychological support to victims of crime especially during the trial process. 

This was underscored by Hon Mrs Justice Lisa Palmer-Hamilton, pusine judge in the Supreme Court, who emphasised the integral role the VSD plays in offering support for victims of crime, in particular children, who are especially vulnerable to neglect, abuse and exploitation. As such, the criminal justice system should not re-victimize them but ensure that they are appropriately and adequately protected and cared for.
 
She was speaking at a capacity building workshop for VSD’s technical staff and volunteers at the Ministry of Justice’s Constant Spring Road location on December 5.

“Your presence, just being there, offering some kind of moral support especially to child victims, goes a long way. Victims, whether child or adult, are the most important characters in a trial and the preparation of that witness emotionally and psychologically can either make or break a case,” she noted.

She encouraged participants to treat each victim that they encounter with compassion and dignity as they will be more cooperative if they are given adequate care and support. 

Palmer-Hamilton also reminded attendees of the role they play in informing the child victim or witness about the availability of psychological and social health services and how they can access these services. 

“Children brought before the court as being in need of special care and protection may not have had the police as their first point of contact. Any probation, aftercare officer, children’s officer or VSD personnel may institute proceedings in respect of a child needing care and protection.”

The VSD is a division of the Ministry of Justice that provides opportunities for healing and therapeutic intervention for all victims of crime.  This mandate is carried out through the parish offices island wide. 

Since the start of this year, the VSD has conducted 7,177 counselling sessions, prepared and supported 334 adults and 607 children for court as well as accompanied 235 children to court.  
For more information about victim support services, contact the VSD at (876) 946-0663.

For more information:

Brittany Stewart
(876) 550-0650
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Justice