Jyoti, Hansdeep and Jaspreet’s recent journey to Grenada dug into the complexities of seeking justice in the Caribbean nation.

We spent hours in conversation with new partners, coming to understand their incredible strengths in the face of a justice system rife with barriers. We also spoke to representatives from the judiciary, trying to find out what systems, policies and capacities are missing in the work towards equity.

During our conversations with local stakeholders, many questions emerged. What does justice mean in this context? What are the barriers to accessing it? And how can we at ICAAD support our partners in removing those barriers to justice? Our conversations echoed with the voices of survivors, frontline workers, and community leaders, each sharing their unique perspective on the challenges they face, and the flaws in the wider justice sector service delivery. 

The numbers painted a grim picture: over half of Grenada’s legal cases that come before the High Court are sexual violence related, with young girls bearing the majority of this injustice. The support systems in place are drowning as they try to keep up. From overwhelmed hospitals to overburdened social services, the cracks in the system are wide, leaving many without the justice they deserve. At present, only 5% of cases actually make it to sentencing.

We set about identifying the necessary steps to build cross-agency collaboration, seamlessly supporting survivors throughout their journey for justice. While the dream of a specialized Gender-Based Violence Court (a potential solution to the overwhelming prevalence of sexual and domestic violence) feels distant, we’re beginning to lay the groundwork for its eventual realization.

Our team moved between government offices and the heart of community-based organizations, offering a myriad of insights into the realities of Grenada’s justice sector.

On returning home we immediately got busy connecting with our pro bono law firm partners, seeking support around our most actionable insights. The appetite for these initiatives was huge, and our work is already underway.

Our journey in Grenada is just beginning, and already, we’re taking concrete steps to address the challenges we’ve encountered. One of our current priorities is assisting civil society organizations (CSOs) to digitize their data collection processes, so they can visualize and monitor progress in survivors’ access to justice. We are also actively involved in developing success metrics for an organization offering free yoga-based therapy to child victims/survivors of sexual violence. These are only two of a number of initiatives we are beginning to work on in the region. As we delve deeper into our exploration, each insight uncovered presents another opportunity for meaningful action.

The potential for impact is huge in a justice system with such glaring holes – and we’re thrilled by the tremendous investment from our team, our pro bono partners, and the justice community in Grenada towards achieving this impact.