AFETT calls for individuals to better understand Gender-Based Violence Legislation in Trinidad and Tobago

March 17th, 2021

Ms. Dixie-Ann Dickson, President of AFETT

Ms. Dixie-Ann Dickson, President of AFETT

The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT), on the heels of International Women’s Day, hosted a discussion forum on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Legislation in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday March 10, 2021, to help create greater awareness and understanding about GBV legislation and Bail in Trinidad and Tobago. 

AFETT has long been advocating for the protection of women and has been doing so with a view to providing a balanced and informed framework from which to shape our position on critical factors impacting the safety of women. 

The GBV legislative session was presented by Ms. Chantal LaRoche, Senior Legal Officer at the Office of the Parliament, and moderated by Ms. Lara Quentrall-Thomas, Founding President of AFETT. Ms. LaRoche shared details on existing pieces of GBV legislation and pointed to some of the gaps. She also spoke to the concept of Bail, providing a clear understanding of how the law is interpreted, specific to various circumstances and particularly in relation to GBV.

Moreover, it was made clear that these laws are in place to protect every citizen, to grant everyone the opportunity to be heard in a court of law, and the ‘sacred’ principle of innocent until proven guilty is enshrined our Constitution. It was also noted that legislation alone will not be a ‘cure all’ for GBV – as we require a cultural shift in behaviour, and in societal norms, a complete review of the system within which these laws are operating, enforcement of those laws, and a careful look at the role of the police in GBV matters. 

While we’ve only been able to merely skim the surface of this topic and are now much better informed about existing GBV legislation in Trinidad and Tobago, we recognise that much more needs to be done within the existing justice and reform systems and the society, in order for these laws to be effectively implemented. It may also be prudent to consider addressing flaws and non-enforcement of the laws, prior to introducing new pieces of legislation.

According to Ms. Dixie-Ann Dickson, President of AFETT, “We all need to understand the legislation that exists, our current legislative and enforcement systems, and the proposed pieces of legislation, in order to make informed and educated decisions.” She continued saying that “these forums expose our members and potential members to parts of our legislation that we may not fully understand and helps to make us more aware of our rights and responsibilities as women. We must continue these conversations.”

AFETT will be conducting similar sessions to inform and educate our members on their rights and responsibilities, and as victims of GBV. AFETT continues to be at the forefront in promoting the protection of women’s rights, by exposing violence against women, and by promoting and developing a comprehensive, holistic and rights-based approach in the fight against GBV.

These discussion forums will help to inform and shape our decision-making as a Non-Governmental Organisation advocating for a better future for our young females in Trinidad and Tobago. 

AFETT is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2002 with the goal of bringing together professional women and engaging in networking opportunities, professional training and business ideas. The vision of the association is “To be the leading network for professional women in Trinidad & Tobago”.  Learn more about AFETT initiatives at