St. Lucia Crisis Centre
SAINT LUCIA CRISIS CENTRE
107 CHAUSSEE ROAD, P. O. BOX CP5570, CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA
TELEPHONE: 758-453-1521/758-712-7574 FAX: 758-458-1447
ST.LUCIA CRISIS CENTRE
The St.Lucia Crisis Centre was established in October 1988, with support from the Government of St.Lucia through the then Ministry of Community Development and Social Affairs, The National Council of Voluntary Women’s Organisations, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, among others; to deal with the growing problems of domestic violence and its associated evils in St.Lucia. The Centre is governed by a registered constitution under the laws of St.Lucia
The mission statement of the St.Lucia Crisis Centre states: ‘The Crisis Centre is a non-governmental organisation which strives for the elimination of all forms of abuse in the society, by providing psychological support through counselling, education, specific referral and networking with agencies that have similar objectives.’
At its inception, the mainly voluntary staff of the Centre organised training workshops in Crisis Intervention and Counselling, instituted a hotline facility, set up an office with help from concerned and corporate citizens and lobbied extensively for a shelter to temporarily shelter victims of domestic violence while they are still in danger. All victims of domestic violence or abuse regardless of sex, race, colour or religion, received immediate assistance and counselling at the Centre.
The strength of the Crisis Centre has been its strong advocacy base. Its first public demonstration attracted hundreds and drew the attention of the public to the extent and understanding of criminal domestic violence. The trigger for this action was the murder of a mother who reported the incestuous rape of her teenage daughter in spite of threats from her abuser.
Its strong advocacy role resulted also in the overall the development and reinforcement of a platform to air the increasing ills of domestic violence and abuse: this included:
- The elevation of the Women’s Desk to a Ministry of Women’s Affairs;
- the passage of the Domestic Violence Act and
- the creation of the Family Court.
More importantly, the Crisis Centre has led a public outcry when a series of three very unpopular judicial decisions were handed down by the Courts and an unfortunate statement on it made by the learned Court of Appeal Judges.
By the end of its tenth year of service, the centre had recorded over 6,000 clients and obtained legislation for closed Court Hearings for cases of Sexual Abuse. It also succeeded in its efforts for a shelter for victims of Domestic Violence.
With the advent of introduction of the Department of Gender Relations (the governmental agency that replaced the Ministry of Women’s Affairs); the Family Court and the Women’s Shelter, the work of the Crisis Centre has had to re-focus. This means that the Centre can now extend its counselling service to areas other than domestic violence. This has resulted in cases such as childhood depression, obesity, land claims, legal aid and financial assistance of all sorts.
Domestic Violence cases however, still outnumber all others
To date the Centre continues its efforts with a free service Mondays to Fridays and a hotline service on weekends and holidays. The many categories of crisis currently handled by the Centre include:
- Domestic Violence
- Legal aid
- Financial Help
- Anti-social Behaviour
The St.Lucia Crisis Centre is committed to being responsive to the needs of the clients and pledges to continue to work with the community through its educational and outreach programmes.