CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY TRAINING UNDERWAY: SURVEY TO GARNER A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF CRIME IN THE FEDERATION

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 31, 2020 (SKNIS): Various agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis are currently participating in a five day Crime Victimization Survey Training aimed at filling an existing gap in the generation of high quality and comparable data on crime statistics, based on the need of generating information for the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, specifically Goal 16– “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.

More specifically, the January 27 to 31 training aims to contribute in the generation of more and better statistical information about crime and the criminal justice systems in Saint Kitts and Nevis to support evidence-based policy-making considering specific projects, initiatives and international mandates.

The objective of the course is to explain the basic methodology of victimization surveys including all its stages: from design to implementation. Knowing this will allow the participants to generate high quality and comparable data based on international standards.

According to Luisa Sanchez-Iriate Mendoza, Researcher on Crime and Justice with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who is one of the facilitators of the workshop, the survey is a standardized questionnaire that helps member states in the region in producing comparable information on crime and criminal justice in line with the international needs of information.

“The survey will generate information that compliments administrative records,” she said. “For example, it allows to estimate those crimes that are not reported to the police also known as the dark figure of crime, as well as the characteristics of the victims, the perpetrator and the event. This information is crucial for the design of crime prevention and victim support policies.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty, noted the importance of the crime victimization survey.

“We have to understand how crime has affected our society if we are going to get very much involved in community policing; if we are really going to develop programmes to address victims of crimes we have to understand and therefore that is why we are going ahead with this even though we are limited with financing,” he said.

Mr. Petty stated that the understanding of the “big picture” is very critical to the federation.

“We are trying to come up with a declassification of crime that reflects the realities here in St. Kitts and Nevis in our justice system,” he said. “Even though you look at what has been done elsewhere, know that hopefully in the short term we’ll have our own to submit.”

The permanent secretary stated that the training is a very important exercise for the participants.

“It is important that we understand crime,” he said. “The crime victims are not only the people who, in my view anyway, had somebody in their household who was a full victim of a crime, that is, somebody who was raped or murdered. But if you are standing on Fort Street and you hear shots fired and you had to run, as far as I’m concerned you are a victim or crime because you were affected.

So, we have to look at the big picture—not just if it’s somebody in your household who got into an incident, but in what ways you are affected.”

Participants of the training include producers of crime, justice and victimization statistics as well as police, ministries of the interior and public security personnel.

After the course, participants should be able to identify the difference between administrative records and victimization survey data; grasp knowledge on the different stages of a victimization survey together with the challenges when trying to implement them; and design an implementation and/or improvement plan for a victimization survey in St. Kitts and Nevis.

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