Trait d’Union: helping victims

Trait d’Union operates in St. Martin since January.

The girl, who was seriously wounded, specifically at the eye, during Fish Day 2013, has regularly been travelling to France for care and maintenance on her ocular prosthesis. At her expense. Despite the fact that she could have received help to pay for these trips and care. But she did not know. A distressing situation that Jean-Marie Thevenet, delegate of the prosecutor, discovered and which he wanted to address by creating Trait d’Union, an Association helping victims.

In the past, several attempts to create such structures have occurred. But "for reasons of methodology" mainly, they could not operate for very long, states Samuel Finielz, the prosecutor of Basse-Terre. They included volunteers and volunteering is not enough. Such structures should be comprised of professionals with legal expertise and for that, they require credentials; which Trait d’Union does.


As its creation was part of the City Agreement signed in December 2015 between the State and the Collectivité, the Prefecture awarded the association a grant via the interdepartmental fund for the fight against crime. COM also graciously provides an office, located rue des Ecoles in Grand Case, in the same building as the district Council, number 2. This ensures that a support desk is manned on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 12:00 noon, in addition to a telephone hotline open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 6:00 p.m. (otherwise, victims should contact the gendarmerie directly by dialing 17).

The creation of the association is also part of the mission to create the remote chamber of St. Martin, which forces the French Department of Justice to commit to providing funds for its operations.


One of Trait d’Union’s goals is to assist victims in their procedure to secure compensation. "Receiving compensation is important. This allows helps for one’s injury to be recognized and to avoid the urge for revenge" recognizes Jean-Marie Thevenet. In St. Martin, many victims are unaware of their right to compensation. They are unaware due to the lack of information. This is why Trait d’Union’s contact information will be mentioned at the end of every report prepared by the gendarmes.

The association can also be summoned directly by prosecutors. "Association representatives will also be systematically present at immediate appearances, as they take place in Basse-Terre and Saint-Martin" says Samuel Finielz.

Another explicit goal is the explanation of court procedures. Often, victims of theft, domestic or other violence come to court because they received a notice to appear as a victim. But they totally ignore what they should tell the magistrate when called to the bar. Often they do not want to claim compensation and indemnification because they know that the perpetrator has no money to pay. Trait d’Union accompanies them in their procedure as civil party.

With Trait d’Union’s help, the girl injured during the Fish Day was able to receive compensation. The association operates since January 1st, 2016 and has already supported approximately twenty people.

Trait d’Union consists of four people: Jean-Marie Thevenet, President, Serge Genoves, secretary (also deputy of the prosecutor), Hélène Bordas, lawyer, and Eloise Guen, psychologist.

TELEPHONE HOTLINE: +59 0690 888 288

Support desk open at the office in Grand Case on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 12:00 noon

Telephone hotline open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 6:00 p.m. (otherwise, contact directly the gendarmerie by dialing 17).

Estelle Gasnet