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Grenada Laws Relevant to Ending Abuse

Grenada is among the five Caribbean nations nominated to participate in the joint global United Nations and European Union Spotlight Initiative (SI). The SI coordinates human efforts, focuses attention, and employs resources strategically to enact a comprehensive national program on ending all forms of violence in families and against girls and women. Grenada state has imposed laws, including the Children’s Act of 2000 – the Children Act of 2012, and the Sexual Offenses Act of 1986, to curb various forms of abuse. Children’s Acts in Grenada, from 2000 to 2012, have been established and reformed to offer child protection against all forms of abuse, including domestic violence, juvenile injustice, neglect or abandonment, and sexual assault.

The Grenada’s Child (Protection and Adoption) Act 2010 allows a child who is in harm or substantial risk of harm to be placed or apprehended in a safe place. Regarding child protection, Grenada has several residential care homes which serve child victims of abandonment, neglect, and emotional, sexual, and physical abuse (UNICEF, 2017). These homes include the Queen Elizabeth Home, Father Mallaghan Home, Sapodilla Home, Dorothy Hopkin Home, and Belair Home. The Child Adoption and Protection Act, No. 20 of 2010, provides for the protection and care of children, allows provisions for children adoption in Grenada, and provides for incidental matters thereto and connected purposes in addition to that. However, the people entrusted to the children in the residential care homes must be properly counseled and ensure they have the right skills to guarantee safety and improve their development.

In its efforts to reduce violence against children, the Grenada government laid out priorities in its “Crime Strategy,” including a definition of a child’s age, promoting children’s rights and responsibilities, and a review of all legislation relating to children, including the Criminal Code and any legislation concerning sexual abuse of children or criminal actions against children. The priorities also encompass reviewing and enacting child abandonment laws and supporting and supervising abandoned children over 12 years of age. The government of Grenada has been actively committed to handling complaints concerning acts of violence against children (Frederick, Reyes-Mohammed, & Obasi, 2018). The intended impact of the fight against all acts of violence is to ensure all children in Grenada, especially the most vulnerable, live a violence-free life. The Grenada Spotlight Initiative is an example of a program that has effectively impacted its goal of reducing family violence and including all acts of violence touching girls and women.

The Children’s Act of 2012, particularly juvenile justice Act No. 24, involves penal and criminal law and is established to protect the rights of children accused of committing offenses. According to Dr. Winston Thomas of the Grenada Human Rights Organization Inc., Child Protection focused on abused children, but no one dared to deny that apprehending a 14-year-old in prison was abuse to the child and was not safe or proper for the vulnerable child (UNHCR, 2005). Such difficulties result from the failure to establish clear protocols or guidelines that appropriately inform the progress of cases concerning children.

Notably, gaps in the laws established to fight violence can be categorized under child protection reforms, sexual offenses reforms, family law reform, and domestic violence reform. For instance, the laws concerning marriage for underage children have gaps that require addressing. According to Spotlight Initiative (2021), laws should considerably set a minimum age at which girls and boys should enter into marriage to safeguard them from marrying when they are not mentally, emotionally, physically, and psychologically ready to reach their fullest potential. Notably, Grenada has made significant progress in its child protection directive. However, the law makes an exception where parental consent, especially a father’s consent, is given more value to permit children under 18 years of age to marry (The Marriage Act CAP 184, s. 20; s. 20 (2)). This law is inconsistent with both gender equality and child rights objectives. As a result, the legal age of marriage in Grenada is a priority in Grenada’s national Spotlight initiative for legal reform.

The Sexual Offences Acts have an identifiable gap where there exists insufficient definition and description of the issue of consent. The Criminal Code Amendment Act (2012) for sexual offenses in Grenada has made remarkable strides in expanding their definitions of various sexual offenses, including increased maximums for purposes of sentencing and exclusion of harmful limitation periods (Spotlight Initiative, 2021). It is recommendable to adjust the criminal legislation to improve the clarity and description of the concepts relevant to sex offenses definition. Another area of concern is abortion resulting from the sexual offense of rape. A notable gap exists in the criminalization of abortion, where Grenada forbids voluntary pregnancy termination. However, an exception is provided if the mother’s health is threatened, in which case abortion access is legally permissible. Particularly, it is unsafe for underage children to be involved in abortion practices. According to UNICEF (2017), while abortion is illegal in Grenada, it is accessible to young women who are treated in hospitals due to incomplete abortions. A shortcoming exists where legal pregnancy termination is allowed for a defined pregnancy stage without further requirements.

Recommendation actions regarding laws established to curb acts of violence include: First, there should be inclusive of clearly defined guidelines on the actions to take when a particular abuse incident happens. Otherwise, the laws will remain by writing only without implementation. Second, amendment of the outdated laws concerning child marriages, enforce sexual assault laws, modernize abortion laws, enforce legislation to include more legal assistance for gender-based and family violence victims and abolish corporal punishment practices in all settings. Additionally, establishing laws is one thing, and putting them into practice is another. The parties being protected by laws, in this case, children should be made aware of their rights, the people to approach in case of abuse, and the defense mechanisms appropriate to use in certain violent events.

The Grenada government has been committed to children’s welfare and rights, although cases of child abuse and violence against women have been challenging. A rough summary of the provisions in the Children’s Acts includes the minimum marriage age without parental consent is 18 years, the sexual consent age is 16 years, the employment minimum age is 16 years, and the criminal responsibility age is 12 years (Juvenile Justice Act) and 7 years (Criminal Act, sec.50 (1)). Besides establishing laws to protect victims of violence, it is important to provide knowledge and awareness on their rights, rightful persons to approach, and actions to take in the event of particular abuse incidents. Consequently, the laws addressing forms of abuse in Grenada have shortcomings and must be reformed to effectively combat and end all kinds of violence.


Frederick, H., Reyes-Mohammed, M. C., & Obasi, S. N. (2018). Family Life Education in the Caribbean Islands: Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago. Global perspectives on family life education, 231-246.

UNICEF. (September 2017). Situation analysis of Children in Grenada. UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area. ECA-GRENADA-SitAn-Web-2017.pdf

Spotlight Initiative. (July 2021). A Comparative Legal Gap Analysis of Laws in Grenada Relevant to Combatting and Ending Violence against Women and Girls. UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area.Legal gap analysis Grenada.pdf

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). (2005). Grenada: Protection Available for Victims of Child Abuse; Availability of Facilities and Social Services for Abandoned Children (2003-2005). Refworld.


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