A website has been created with the help of some organisations in an effort to encourage victims to report sexual and domestic abuse in a safe and confidential manner.
Social and Human Rights activist, Akola Thompson says the aim of the website is to give victims a platform to report sexual and other forms of abuse without fear of victimization.
“When you make the report via a short form, through the website, a few persons called site monitors, what they do is take the information and depending on whether it’s a child or an adult, it is filtered to the Child Care and Protection Agency or the Guyana Police Force. This website was created to give victims a space to where they can ensure their reports are handled,” Thompson explained to the News Room during an interview on Friday, January 19, 2018.
Thompson said that the development of the website – www.reportabusegy.com – commenced in November of last year, following the Coen Jackson case.
Jackson, a teacher of the Bishops High School, is accused of having sex with several of his current and past students. In December last year, Jackson was charged with the rape and sexual assault of a former student of the Bishops’ High School who is now 22-years-old.
Meanwhile, Thompson explained that following the Jackson case, it was realized that several students would have made reports, but they were stifled.
“This is to ensure that these kinds of things don’t necessarily happen because reporting remains one of the largest barriers to ensuring justice.”
“We recognized that we needed persons to have a space where they can have their crimes reported because right now, you can physically go into the police station, yes, but not a lot of persons are able to do that or want to do that because, one thing, police don’t have proper training. So of course, when you go, you feel re-victimised all over again,” Thompson said.
For those areas which are not technologically advanced, Thompson hopes to find alternatives in an effort to get victims to come forward.
Some of the agencies involved in the development of the website include Red Thread and Help and Shelter and they are made to sign confidentiality agreements.
If victims do not want to press charges against their abusers, then the website also facilitates counselling. Thompson explained that discussions are underway with the Guyana Police Force to recognize the website as an official reporting unit. (Fareeza Haniff)