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(SNO) — The young female who beats and drags her sister in a viral Saint Lucia video should not be arrested but receive counselling.
That’s the view of Human and Gender Rights Advocate Felicia Dujon Browne.
Speaking to St. Lucia News Online on Monday, Oct. 8, Browne said she does not support violence against children in any form, but an arrest is “extreme”. She believes the parent/s for the siblings need to be contacted and allow them to get counselling.
“We are too quick to arrest young people,” she pointed out. “There are more criminals out there to arrest.”
Law enforcement sources said police are investigating the incident and social workers have already been contacted.
Browne, meanwhile, went on to say that the females in the violent incident appear to be both children, and their parents should also be held accountable.
She explained: “In many cases, childcare duties fall on the oldest of the siblings, who is pressed into service to take care of the younger ones. However, there are times when the older sibling may not have the maturity or patience to manage the discipline of their young siblings and may become verbally or even physically abusive to the younger siblings.
“We should remember that they are both young people and need the guidance from their parents and loves one. it is the responsibility of the parents to provide clear instructions/guidelines on discipline in their absence.”
Browne pointed out that the siblings should receive some counselling on communication.
“They both seem to become violent towards each other which should be avoided. Keep in mind that perhaps the older sister was attempting to bring the younger sister home and she refused. The older sister just made an error in judgement and should not be criminalised for it. She needs guidance in how to address her sibling’s disobedience,” Browne added.
However, some police officers do not agree with Browne. Well, the majority of them St. Lucia News Online spoke with today, believe the older sibling deserve some time at the station.
“The young girl can be arrested for assaulting her younger sister. If she caused any injuries she can be charged with harm or wounding depending the extent of the injuries,” one of the officers said on condition of anonymity.
“I would arrest and charge her,” the officer added. “There’s counselling available through the court if you pursue that route. There’s nothing mandating that she attends counselling if organised by a police officer, however a magistrate can order these as terms of her sentencing. If she’s brave enough to do it in public, she’s more than likely done it in private.
“I would not take the risk of having her return home without some safety measures formally in place for the victim. Wouldn’t want to have that on my conscience. People may think it’s more personable to refer her to a counsellor but how soon will that appointment actually be facilitated and how seriously will she take it?” the officer explained.
Another officer agrees that “social services would be the one to file a case of child abuse”.
According to one other police officer, the possible charges are assault and child endangerment,
“That is no way to discipline a child,” the cop told St. Lucia News Online. “And that’s where child protective services come in, to investigate these occurrences.”
The officer added, however, that one should not be too hasty about pressing charges.
“You see a lot of people are unable to cope with the difficulties of life and have been driven to a point of frustration — not that it’s an excuse for abuse. Just a look at the video and I see the mother or whoever she is, seems to be going through some sort of difficulty,” the officer stated.