Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago
In 2019, the estimated number of Venezuelan migrants in Trinidad and Tobago was 60,000. Recent accounts in the country indicate that this number increased drastically by February 2020. However seemingly low, this number is significant, especially compared to other countries in the region and the host community’s overall population, estimated at 1.4 million.
The use of illegal routes by Venezuelan migrants entering the Caribbean is particularly dangerous for women and children who are more vulnerable to exploitation, human trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV).
COVID-19 exacerbated Venezuelans dire situation. They already were susceptible to pre-migration trauma and post-migration stressors, primarily GBV, lack of and loss of social support, limited and inconsistent work opportunities and xenophobia.
In support of the BetterTogether Challenge’s call for innovations to address gender-based violence, the RCSTT established Trinidad and Tobago’s first, after-hour, toll-free, GBV bilingual hotline operated by highly skilled and trained Venezuelans. It provides immediate support to Venezuelans and other GBV survivors in any part of the country.
RCSTT builds on previous and ongoing efforts to provide free online and in-service counseling and psychosocial service support. Their GBV online crisis counseling line is available during working hours and open to Venezuelans. With Challenge funding, they offer a bilingual, English and Spanish, GBV Hotline to further assist users who require additional intervention, especially at critical hours of the evening and weekend (6 pm to 6 am), when they most need it.
The hotline expects to receive approximately 6,000 crisis calls during 2021, addressing cases of harassment, exploitation, xenophobia, depression, post-traumatic stress and overall mental health. Users who demonstrate severe trauma will be referred for ongoing clinical sessions with a trained psychosocial service counselor during regular weekday hours.
To ensure best practices and response, RCSTT periodically assesses weekly and monthly statistical data to examine trends and provide timely, evidence-based interventions.
Focus Areas and Impact
|Trinidad and Tobago|
|Gender Equality & Women's Economic Empowerment|
|Xenophobia, Gender-Based Violence & Violence Prevention|