Police host programme for teenage sexual assault survivors

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Deborah Lee Riviears

The police’s Victim and Witness Support Unit (VWSU) recently hosted a group intervention programme to support female teenage victims of sexual assault.

A police statement on Monday said the four-day programme was held from August 16 to 18 and ended on August 23.

The psycho-educational group intervention mainly focused on teen intervention, specifically developing appropriate coping skills in a safe and supportive environment where participants shared their experiences and feelings with others who have been through similar experiences.

The organisers dedicated the last day to parental support.

The statement added that 12 clients from the North and North Central Divisions participated in the programme that Deborah Lee Riviears led.

VWSU members Roxanne Palmiste-Sankar, Dafina Tyson, Bianca Augustus, Jordan Noreiga, and Tia Marie Bacchus facilitated it.

Kylise Romain, an advocate for survivors of teen sexual assault, supported the initiative. She “shared impactful stories of progress and healing” with the participants.

The statement quoted one participant as saying, “This has been a good experience, being around persons who went through similar things as me. I feel like I have a bond with the other girls even though it has only been three days that we met each other. I feel like I can cope better and have a better understanding of what I am experiencing.”

Parents also agreed about the value of the programme. One parent said, “It was a great session needed to have.”

The Queen’s Park Counselling Centre and Clinic, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross, Prestige Holdings, Xtra Foods, and the Rotary Club of Sangre Grande all sponsored the programme.

VWSU hopes that the intervention will be repeated in the future as needed.