The findings of Caribbean Human Development Report have caught the attention of one support group for women which is now calling for a more comprehensive approach when dealing with cases of sexual assault.

The report released last week indicated that the women in Antigua & Barbuda are the most fearful of being sexually assaulted.

The report, which covered data from 2010, said that 19.1 per cent of Antigua & Barbuda study participants feared being sexually assaulted. The other countries in the comparison were Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.

President of Women against Rape (WAR) Nurse Alexandrina Wong said fear is still a common factor for rape victims, most of whom are forced to relocate to different parts of the island.

She said while a few have been able to relocate from their dwellings others have not been so lucky.

“It is not everyone who can move from their location. So the fear is still there. And when we look at the incidents of violence in Antigua & Barbuda, 2010-2011, that speaks for itself,” Wong said.

Wong said that community involvement is needed to restore a sense of comfort among women who are victims of assault.

“Being responsible for our own safety is a first step and for communities to come together and form networks that will give the individuals of the various villages a better sense of protection or safety whether it is in the day or in the night,” she added.

Wong told The Daily OBSERVER that her association has also seen inconsistencies with the number of assault cases that are coming from authentic sources, as these numbers do not mesh with the number of cases before the courts.

She has committed the association’s continued assistance in providing up to date information to the general public and advice that could act as a guide.

“We will continue to inform our members and the general public whenever possible about personal safety and security tips. A number of other groups are also working together to promote safety and security. There are a number of things that are been done but perhaps if we have a more co-ordinated approach the end result could be much better,” Wong said.

The findings in the report have some quarters of the public indicating that the data might be slanted because of how comparatively small Antigua & Barbuda is. But Janielle Matthews, Criminal Law Lecturer at UWI Mona and compiler of Antigua & Barbuda’s national report for the UNDP, said population size does not have that much to do with the result.

The UNDP, however, noted that in cases of small countries such as Antigua & Barbuda, minor increases in occurrences of violence can dramatically affect the per capita rates.

(Source http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=71168)