Citation: 2020 RLLR 148
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 17, 2020
Panel: D. Willard
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Annie N. O’Dell
RPD Number: TB8-29245
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-29336; TB8-29337; TB8-29338
ATIP Number: A-2021-01105
ATIP Pages: 000057-000065
 MEMBER: This is an oral decision in the claims for refugee protection of XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX the File number is TB8-29245, XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX the File number is TB8-29336, XXXX XXXX XXXX TB8-29337 and XXXX XXXX XXXX the File number is TB8-29338.
 The claimant’s are seeking protection in Canada; well the principal claimant is seeking protection in Canada pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act on the basis of her membership in a particular social group that is women who are at risk due to domestic violence and domestic violence in Barbados.
 The claimant indicates that she and the minors are all citizens of Barbados only and of no other country. The panel wishes to note that the written version of these reasons will not be edited for spelling, syntax, grammar and no references to applicable case law.
 The details of the claimant’s allegations are found in Exhibit 2.1 before the panel in the basis of claim form narrative and also in the additional narrative at Exhibit 4 which provides an update to the initial narrative.
 In summary the claimant the principal claimant indicates that she was born in Barbados XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX. That she and the minor claimant’s who are her children are all citizens of Barbados only. She states that her sons share a father XXXX XXXX who continues to reside in Barbados and from whom she obtained a letter of consent in order for them to travel to Canada.
 She indicates that her daughter XXXX her father XXXX XXXX(ph) is the individual who the claimant is afraid of in Barbados. She details the nature of her relationship with XXXX (ph) in her narrative.
 To summarize; she indicates that she met him a number of years ago when her eldest son was still quite young. She states that the relationship initially was positive but took a turn for the worst and became a very abusive one.
 She indicates that over the years she’s lived in a variety of different places including with XXXX(ph) father, her mother she’s moved addresses a number of times but that XXXX(ph) has been abusive on a continual basis in a manner of different forms.
 She indicates in her narrative that she tried to seek help from the police on a number of occasions. She indicates that help was not operationally adequate so to speak, it was not forthcoming to her.
 She states that after a number of attempts to try to get help from them she gave up hope, particularly on the last occasion in the fall of 2018 when she had an altercation with XXXX (ph) in which the police were not helpful to her and gave her a solution that she believed would end up in her being charged with assault and being arrested.
 It was at this point that she decided that she could no longer live in Barbados and promptly decided to come to Canada and seek help here. She entered Canada on XXXX XXXX of 2018 with the three minor children and shortly after arriving here filed a claim for refugee protection for herself and on their behalf as well.
 After assessing all of the evidence before me madam I find that you have established on a balance of probabilities that you have a well founded fear of persecution in your country Barbados on the basis of your membership in a particular social group, that is on the basis of your gender and as a woman who fears abuse in Barbados from a partner.
 I find that you have established your identities that is your own and that of the minor claimant’ s on a balance of probabilities. I find as well that you’ve established the credibility of your allegations on a balance, the well foundedness of your fear.
 I find that you’ve also provided a reasonable explanation for your delay in filing your claim here in Canada and that on a balance operational adequate state protection would not be forthcoming to you nor that there would be a viable internal flight alternative for you in Barbados.
 I’m going to turn to my analysis now. First with respect to your personal identities I note madam that you did provide your original passports both for yourself and the minor claimants and I have certified true copies of them before me in Exhibit 1.
 I note that all of the passport copies before me indicate the dates of birth and country’s of citizenship, places of birth that you have alleged.
 I find therefore madam that you have discharged your onus of demonstrating your personal identities as per Section 106 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Rule 11 of the Refugee Protection Division rules. Accordingly I accept that all of you hold the identities that you allege.
 With respect to credibility, madam I found you to be today a very credible witness. You were very straightforward, sincere, detailed, and heartfelt in the statements that you made. You were able to testify in a manner that was very consistent with the narrative that you provided of the events that occurred to you.
 You were consistent with the documentation in Exhibits 2.1 and Exhibit 4. I have insufficient reason to doubt the sincerity and truthfulness of your allegations of abuse at the hands of XXXX XXXX (ph) in Barbados.
 Accordingly I accept your allegations as truthful and in reaching that determination I’ve also been mindful of the documentation that you have provided and your explanation for the Jack of documentation from the police, I note that in Exhibit 6 through your counsel you provided a number of documents.
 You provided the Barbados police medical report, the original of which you gave tome today, you provided a copy of what’s app messages to XXXX XXXX who you dealt with in Barbados, you also provided a print out of recent calls from XXXX(ph), contact information, you provided a number of letters of support from individuals who know about the problems that you’ve endured with XXXX(ph), you also provided a consent letter from XXXX XXXX for the purposes of your travel.
 I note as well that there is a XXXX assessment from XXXX XXXX that I’ve also bore in mind in assessing your evidence today.
 I’ve also madam been mindful of and been guided by chair person’ s Guideline 4 on women fearing gender persecution in their country of origin and I’ve also been mindful of counsel’s outline in her application regarding the, your emotional state and the XXXX symptoms that you are experiencing.
 I find madam that you have established through your evidence and testimony today the credibility of your allegations and accept them as credible on a balance.
 With respect to the delay in filing your claim here in Canada, I did ask you questions today about whether or not you were aware that you could file a claim for protection upon arrival. I note that you indicated that you weren’t aware that you could qualify as a refugee claimant and therefore you were guided by a friend who gave you some advice and told you to seek legal assistance and contact a shelter.
 You described the steps that you took in detail that you contacted XXXX(ph) house, that you needed to apply for legal aid, seek legal assistance, I’ve bore in mind your particular circumstances and also have taken into account the fact that you were here on a valid visa, a valid visitor’s stay when you were seeking legal advice.
 Therefore I find that the delay of approximately a month or two in filing your claim here in Canada is not indicative of a lack of subjective fear. I accept your statements as reasonable and therefore draw no negative inference from the delay which was a rather short one.
 In terms of the well foundedness of your fear, I note that the documentary evidence in particular Item 5.5 indicates that domestic violence continues to be a major problem in Barbados.
 There was a, so Item 5.5 is indexed as BRB105717.E its dated March 3rd of 2017 and it’s includes a survey of six hundred people in Barbados on behalf of Unicef s office for the Eastern Caribbean area and it noted that seventy six percent of respondents indicated that they thought domestic violence remained to be a major problem in Barbados.
 Thirty six percent of respondents had someone close to them experience domestic violence by a spouse or partner. According to Freedom House violence against women remains widespread despite domestic violence laws in the country.
 Moreover it similarly states that the violence, that violence and abuse against women continue to be a significant social problem.
 A 2016 report by Inter American Developmental Bank entitled crime and violence in Barbados states that the recording of statistics related to violence in the home in Barbados is severely limited.
 It goes on to state that information collection on domestic violence is inadequate due to under reporting, under documentation, administrative incapacity and a lack of a appreciation for the use of statistics and the policy formulation and monitoring cycle.
 The Barbados government information service GIS further quotes the acting director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs as stating that the true incidents of domestic violence in Barbados is unknown since it is a crime that is seldom reported.
 I will proceed to discuss in further the legislation and the applicability of the legislation under my state protection analysis but I would note that this document does go on to describe incidents of domestic violence, the prevalence of it in the country and therefore madam I find that your fear is, is a well founded one.
 In particular with respect to the issue of state protection, I note that Item 2.1 the US Department of State report indicates that there is legislation in place to deal with domestic violence and incidents of rape and maltreatment of partners in Barbados.
 I note that Item 2.1 states that the law prohibits domestic violence and provides protection to all members of the family including men and children.
 The law applies equally to marriages and to common law relationships. The law empowers police to make an arrest after receiving a complaint, visiting the premises and having some assurance that a crime was committed and police made numerous arrests for domestic violence, penalties depend on the severity of the charges and range from a fine for first time offenders unless the injury is serious up to the death penalty for cases resulting in death of a victim.
 It states that victims may request restraining orders which the courts often issue. The courts may sentence an offender to jail for breaching such an order. Violence…nevertheless it does go on to state that violence and abuse against women continue to be significant social problems. Police have a victim support unit but reports indicated the services provided were inadequate.
 The same DOS report does state that there were public and private counselling services for victims of domestic violence, rape and child abuse. The government provided funding for a shelter for women who had faced violence, the shelter also served victims of human trafficking and other forms of gender based violence.
 In making its assessment the panel must assess whether or not the state protection in Barbados is operationally adequate. It is not enough to just look at efforts that are being made. The panel must assess whether or not there is an operationally adequate level of protection for you in your country.
 The panel notes that you described in your narrative in detail and again today in testimony the interactions that you had with the police. I note that your statements today were very consistent with the statements you made in your basis of claim form narratives.
 You state that in your interactions with the police the response was not fruitful. You state that in the last incident that you had a male and female police officer come to you and suggest that you throw a pot of boiling water on the agent of persecution as a solution.
 You also state that in your dialogue with a police officer about a restraining order they indicated to you that they would get back to you and nothing further came of it.
 You described as well seeking that charges be pressed against XXXX(ph) in the fall of 2017 and that the police escorted you and him in the same police vehicle wherein he was verbally accosting you for charging him, the matter did go to court, however nothing came of it even though you followed up and tried and did appear at the court.
 You stated today that you sought assistance from three different police stations that you’d gone to the police if you were to estimate more than twenty times, that you tried to call them and seek help from them over a period of a number of years.
 The panel has bore this in mind in reviewing Item 5.5 which is a detailed summary of what is happening on the ground with police efforts in Barbados. I’m going to read out what I have noted from this document.
 It states that in Item 5.5 that the IDP report notes that there has recently been an attempt to improve the inadequacies of data collection on domestic violence. Through the creation of a family conflict intervention unit designed to respond to and record more detailed information on domestic violence.
 The same source adds that the unit was established by the police force in June 2013 and that as a result detailed data on domestic violence is limited only to cases reported from June 2013 onwards. It goes on to state that there were two hundred and twenty cases of domestic abuse reported to the Family Conflict Intervention Unit.
 In November 2016 a Barbadian newspaper The Daily Nation reported that incidents of domestic violence are on the rise noting the police logged four hundred and thirty five reports of domestic violence cases between January 1st and October 31st 2016, a slight increase over four hundred and twenty nine cases reported in 2015.
 The same RIR indicates that there is legislation in place to address marital rape and domestic violence. There are also amendments to the domestic violence protection orders act that was introduced in 2016.
 I note that this item is also, this legislation is also made, there’s a reference made to it in Item 5.6 before the panel.
 The…under the state protection and police segment of this item the panel notes that the following is stated. It adds that victims may request restraining orders which the court often issued and the courts may sentence an offender to jail for breaching such an order.
 According to the IDP report there is no government run shelter in Barbados for victims of domestic violence.
 However sources note that the government provided a subvention to the Business and Professionals Women’s Club of Barbados to run a shelter for abused women which is the only shelter available to abused women in Barbados. According to the IDP report the Barbados government is the shelter’s main source of funding.
 With respect to the police according to Freedom House, police responsiveness is often slow and inadequate in cases of violence against women. Country reports 2015 similarly states that there are several reports that police did not responds promptly or adequately to complaints of sexual assault and domestic violence.
 Barbados today reports that police are reluctant to respond to cases of domestic violence. It indicates that there is a victim support unit within the police force.
 According to the same source this unit consists of civilian volunteers and offers assistance primarily to female victims of violent crimes but reports indicated services provided were inadequate.
 Sources also note the existence of a police family conflict unit. The IDP report explains that this unit was established due to a perceived need to sensitize officers responding to family and domestic violence cases. It reported that police were receiving training on domestic violence.
 With respect to support services there is reference to shelters that offer psychological counsellors, intervention services. Of note is that at the final page of this report it states that there was a crisis center and twenty four hour hotline established as a conduit for the shelter for battered women.
 However the same source states that the walk in crisis center was closed in October 2014 due to a reduction in fonds. There is a service alliance, violent encounters, a non profit organization.
 According to the information before the panel this foundation records and monitors incidents of domestic violence and provides free counselling and legal advice, operates a hotline and tries to raise awareness.
 After assessing all of this information madam and taking into consideration your own personal interaction with the police and authorities in Barbados.
 The panel finds that you testimony which is found to be credible in combination with the information that we have on the adequacy of the enforcement services in Barbados leads the panel to determine that you have in your circumstance discharged the onus of demonstrating with clear and convincing evidence that operationally adequate state protection would not be forthcoming to you.
 In reaching this determination the panel is mindful of the added services that may be present in Barbados. However it is clear that there is an ongoing lack of effectiveness in terms of the services provided by the police in Barbados.
 The panel notes that the reports are consistent with one another in Item 2.1 and Item 5.5 and others that while there are efforts being made the services provided are deemed to be inadequate from the police and that there isn’t always responsiveness on their part.
 Taking this into consideration madam with your own personal interactions with the police I find that you have discharged the onus of demonstrating that operational adequate state protection would not be forthcoming to you in Barbados.
 With respect to an internal flight alternative, I have bore in statement madam your, bore in mind your statement that you know that Barbados is small and that you’ve lived in a different, that you’ve lived in different locations and tried to seek protection from different police stations.
 I note that according to Item 1.3 of the national documentation package Barbados is a very small country. The square kilometers are four hundred and thirty in total. The population is estimated at less than three hundred thousand people as of July 2018.
 Given madam the small size of the country and the ongoing threats being issued to you through various people from XXXX(ph) which demonstrate a clear continued interest and determination to find you, his threat that he will locate you and kill you if you were to return to Barbados.
 I find that you have demonstrated that there would not be a viable internal flight alternative for you that would be safe in Barbados given the small size of the country making it very easy for XXXX(ph) to locate you should you try to relocate throughout the country and his past efforts and abilities to continually find you, harass you and abuse you on an ongoing basis.
 In conclusion I find madam that you have demonstrated that you have established your evidence on a balance of probabilities. I note that you have indicated that your children have also been abused and threatened by him. I find therefore that you have established a well founded fear of persecution on your own behalf but also on their part.
 I finally note as well that you have met the onus of demonstrating that you meet the definition of a Convention refugee.
 That you have established the components of Section 96 and established that there is a serious possibility of persecution for you on the basis of your membership in a particular social group that is on the basis of your gender and as a woman who is fearful of domestic violence, for your children as members of your family as well.
 I therefore find madam that you are all Convention refugees and I accept your claims.
 Thank you. We are concluded.
———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-