Rape and domestic violence are topics that are painful to discuss — but it is this very silence that perpetuates the harm they cause.
There is also a misconception that ‘these things’ do not happen in civilised society, particularly among working professional women.
The Rape Crisis Society and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence strive to change these perceptions of the profiles of the victims and perpetrators of these incidents, and to educate the public about available resources.
These two separate agencies share a united mission in serving the public, providing therapeutic and educational services with the aim to encourage awareness of these issues and, above all, the importance of survival for the victims of abuse.
The Rape Crisis Society
Established in 1984, The Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago (RCS) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. Its primary focus is to address the issue of sexual violence and its impact on the most vulnerable members of society through counselling, public education and active work towards effecting change.
The Rape Crisis Society receives assistance through Government funding programmes, and private and corporate citizens.
Its services include:
Private and confidential face-to-face counselling and referral services to persons in the following areas:
- Child sexual abuse/Incest
- Domestic Violence
- Family Problems
- Personal conflicts
- 24-hour Hotline Counselling, a first point of contact for the public to reach out for help
- Education/Outreach programmes to assist the public in understanding and dealing effectively with social issues of rape, incest, child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
- Training Workshops in basic and advanced counselling, public speaking and outreach, human sexuality, peer counselling etc.
- Survivors’ Support Groups for victims to share experiences and provide mutual support
All services are provided free to the public except for the Training Workshops which require a small fee.
Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Formed in 1988, The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) is a non-profit organisation made up of over thirty (30) organisations and individuals that are involved in support services for victims of domestic abuse.
The CADV is committed to developing responses and policies that address the specific issues of violence among men, women, children and the elderly. The Coalition receives funding from the private sector, from private individuals and from international organisations in order to deliver its programmes.
Its objectives include:
- Lobbying and advocacy for human rights issues regarding legislation, public policy
- The encompassing of various forms of direct victim support in issues regarding gender-based violence
- Public education
- Educational aid to victims of domestic and gender-based violence
- Witness support and legal aid (where this is otherwise unobtainable)
- Prevention programmes
These objectives have influenced the development of programmes and activities such as the Children’s Educational Assistance Fund, the programme for counselling assistance to batterers and victims, the Peace, Love and Understanding in Schools (PLUS) Programme, ChildLine; and Stop Elderly Abuse Now (SEAN).
The Trinidad & Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence works with the police, with relevant ministries of Government, and with other NGO’s to achieve the objective of changing our culture to one of peace.
Another initiative the CADV has influenced is the Victim and Witness Support Programme of the Police Service, which addresses the emotional needs of victims and witnesses of crime; those who have been directly affected and those who are secondary victims such as family members and children. Victim and Witness Support Units are located in all Divisions of the Police Service and selected police stations throughout the country.
The Coalition has also produced television clips that focus on parenting skills and issues surrounding violence in the family and community.
Make a Difference: Volunteer, Donate
Both the Rape Crisis Society and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence recognise the difference that committed volunteers can make to effecting change in the quality of life in communities. Volunteers use their skills and time for activities that run the gamut from fund-raising to visiting or helping elderly persons.
Many programmes have been developed to include volunteer contribution, for example the SEAN Programme benefits greatly from volunteers who have been trained to provide support services for the elderly, and the ChildLine Programme trains volunteers to operate a free hotline service provided to the public. Volunteers also do outreach work.
Donations and contributions are welcome from individuals and corporate citizens.
Account number: Republic Bank 290 443 529 831 (Rape Crisis Society)
Account number: Republic Bank 180 457 805 001 (Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
The Rape Crisis Society and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence can be reached as follows:
Rape Crisis Society:
1 Robinson Ville, Belmont, Trinidad / 12 San Fernando Street, San Fernando, Trinidad
1 (868) 627-7273 / 657-5355 or email [email protected]
Rape Crisis Hotline: 1 (868) 627-7273
Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
1 Robinson Ville, Belmont, Trinidad
1 (868) 624-0402, email [email protected] or Facebook page
Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline: 800-SAVE (7283)
Some other useful contact numbers:
- Legal Aid – 1 (868) 625-0454
- Family Court – 1 (868) 627-8716/623-2631/624-1307
- Childline – 800-4321
- Families in Action – 1 (868) 622-6952/622-5365/628-2333
What You Need to Know
- Counsellors for victims of rape and domestic violence are trained clinical psychologists.
- Counselling is open to children as young as three (3) years old, and to the elderly — there is no upper age limit for services provided.
- If you are interested in volunteering your services, you can become a member to assist with outreach programmes and fundraising.
Read the Useful Tips & Advice provided by The Rape Crisis Society and The Coalition Against Domestic Violence: