Gendarmerie and Trait d’Union partners in the assistance to victims


Assistance to victims to become more accessible. This is the objective of the partnership agreement signed between the gendarmerie and the Trait d’Union association on Friday, May 5th at the premises of the brigade of Marigot.

From Monday, May15th, Hélène Bordas, the legal expert of the association, will conduct shifts every fortnight, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, alternatively* in French Quarter, and then in Marigot. As for filing a complaint, the victims will be able to report to the gendarmerie, where they will be directed to the legal expert for free personalized and confidential service.

“This is a small step forward to take into account the victims” considers Commander Sébastien Manzoni. He also states that, except for the provision of the premises by Captain Ravier, who commands the brigades of Marigot and French Quarter, the gendarmerie is not involved.

“Often the first link of the victims with the State is done on the premises of the gendarmerie and then begins an obstacle race for them to assert their rights as victims and to obtain legal, psychological and/or medical support” he said. Attending the hearings at the court of Saint-Martin helps one realize that the victims, whose summons contain the contact information of Trait d’Union, often do not know that they can claim damages or even benefit from legal aid.

“This agreement is part of a process of decentralization of assisting the victims” says Jean-Marie Thévenet, the President of Trait d’Union. He recalled that the association holds shifts on Monday and Wednesday at its headquarters located rue des écoles in Grand Case, as well as at the Manteau premises, on Wednesday morning, and at the hospital, on Monday afternoon. “The partnership with the gendarmerie is a well known mechanism in mainland France”, he added. “The victim is thus accompanied in the understanding of the procedure because the gendarmes do not necessarily have time to explain it and use a language that is not always easy to understand on the decisions that are taken, and the means of possible action to obtain compensation for damages”: “We are not expected to share the victims emotions, but to help them get compensation for the damage that they have suffered.”

*The first Monday of the month at the Marigot brigade and the third Monday of the month in French Quarter.








Fanny Fontan