The Sexual Offences Model Court (SOMC) is a set of specialized court procedures designed to improve the handling of sexual offence matters at the High Court. These features include
- quicker resolution of cases through tighter pre-trial management,
- fast-tracking for sexual offence cases,
- assigning sexual offence matters only to court administrators, police, and prosecutors with specialized training,
- the use of video conferencing technology to allow vulnerable complainants to give testimony from a remote location to reduce re-traumatisation,
- a special waiting room for complainants within the High Court,
- and improved survivor support services coordinated through the Support And Referral Centre and Family and Social Services Division.
The Court was established in January 2019 through the Canadian-funded Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project and implemented through the Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs acts as a key stakeholder within the SOMC through the Support And Referral Centre (SARC). Vulnerable complainants, including minors, can give remote testimony via specialised video conferencing equipment in the SARC. The SARC also provide advocacy services to victims and their families as they navigate the court process.