Reported cases of domestic violence surpasses 1,300 at end of October

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Violence experienced within people’s homes continues to be a sore issue as more than 1,300 reported cases of domestic violence have been recorded this year, based on figures tabulated up to the end of October.

This figure was revealed by the Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud during an interview with the News Room on Thursday.

From January to June this year, Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie reported that some 896 cases of domestic violence had already been reported. That means that from July to October- four months- there were at least another 404 reported cases of domestic violence.

Further, the Human Services Minister explained that the ministry has recorded an “escalation” in the number of reports through its toll-free, 24-hour 914 hotline. This hotline was launched last December as a result of the significant decline in the reporting of violence and child abuse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since December, Dr. Persaud highlighted that there have been more than 570 reports of domestic violence and about 430 reports of child abuse.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud (Photo: News Room/November 25, 2021)

Increased reports signal that people are able to access relief mechanisms put in place and it allows for earlier interventions – like the police force’s response to reports. Still, the minister pointed out that violence is, well, bad. Consequently, sustained interventions are necessary.

Already, the ministry has rolled out a ‘Survivor’s Advocacy Programme’ allowing women to receive the support that they need from the moment of reporting their experiences of violence to the conclusion of their cases.

To help women sustain themselves and their children too, the Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) programme has been launched too; this facilitates access to cost-free skills training programmes.

Even with these programmes, though, Dr. Persaud emphasises that there must be greater community buy-in and awareness to eradicate domestic violence. As such, the ministry will be using the global ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ observance to launch another programme.

This programme will be called the Community Advocates Network (CAN) and Dr. Persaud explained that it is meant to cultivate a “cumulative approach” to domestic violence. That would involve personal engagement among community members encouraging people to become less judgemental so that stigma for people confronted by violence is eliminated.

And ultimately, it is meant to ensure that people can be ‘fired up’ about eliminating the scourge of violence in their communities.

“The 16 days of Activism continue to remind us that our statistics need to be looked at and not only looked at but tackled,” she emphasised.

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