Concluding Observations, CEDAW/C/VCT/CO/4-8, 24 July 2015: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
C. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Violence against women
20.The Committee welcomes the adoption in April 2015 of the Domestic Violence Act, which broadens the definition of domestic violence by including not only physical violence but also sexual, psychological and economic violence. The Committee also notes with appreciation the adoption in 2015 of an interministerial national action plan on gender-based violence. However, the Committee notes:
(c) That women in same-sex relationships are excluded from the categories of persons who can apply for protection under the Domestic Violence Act, as acknowledged by the State party;
28.The Committee commends the State party for achieving universal access to primary and secondary education. It also welcomes the development of a health and family life education curriculum and a programme aimed at enabling pregnant adolescent girls to pursue their education through the provision of day-care services, payment of school fees and books as well as transportation (“Teen Mothers Returning to School” programme). However, the Committee notes with concern:
(a)The high rate of teenage pregnancy (nearly 50 per cent of women/girls give birth for the first time between 15 and 19 years of age), which results in high dropout rates, in addition to the lack of information on whether the Health and Family Life Education Curriculum is offered in an age-appropriate manner at all levels of education and includes a gender perspective and education on responsible sexual behaviour;
29. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Consider means of reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies by continuing to promote education in sexual and reproductive health and rights and responsible sexual behaviour for girls and boys, ensuring that it is age appropriate and offered at all levels of education;
36.The Committee notes with appreciation the awareness-raising activities carried out by the National Family Planning Coordinator in secondary schools, technical institutions and the Community College to address issues such as responsible sexual behaviour, adolescent pregnancy, family planning services, including contraceptives, and sexually transmitted diseases. The Committee nevertheless remains concerned about information that traditional attitudes and cultural norms hamper access to contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, because clinic nurses frequently consider that it is not appropriate for schoolgirls to be sexually active and either refuse to supply contraceptives or inform their mothers about their sexual activity.
37. In line with article 12 of the Convention and its general recommendation No. 24 on women and health, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(c) Provide free and confidential family planning services at the community level, including in the Grenadines, and educate women and girls and men and boys on responsible sexual behaviour and the prevention of early and unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CEDAW-St Vincent and the Grenadines-2015-eng