Advocates network launched to help combat domestic violence
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on Wednesday launched the Community Advocates Network known as ‘CAN’ to help tackle the domestic violence scourge here.
The initiative is an important one and joins the numerous actions taken by the ministry in the fight to end violence against women and girls. The launch was held at the Parliament Buildings in Georgetown and was attended by government ministers and members of the Diplomatic Corps who all signed on to the ministry’s challenge and took an action-oriented pledge to end violence and abuse.
The decision to launch the ‘CAN’ at the Parliament Buildings symbolises that the ministry is crafting policies aimed at eradicating the scourge of violence against women and girls.
The initiative speaks to breaking the cycle of violence by empathising with victims, share resources available for survivors and report any form of abuse to the police.
The launch of ‘CAN’ forms part of the 16 Days of Activism, an annual campaign against domestic violence that began on November 25 and will run until December 10.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud spoke at Wednesday’s event and said violence against women and girls is a challenge that continues to exist in the country.
She said it is a social issue that simply cannot be ignored anymore.
“We need to not be blind; we need to not be dismissive, we need to hear the repeated cries for help, we need to look beyond the physical and understand the emotional scars, we need to hold people accountable,” Dr Persaud stated.
Further, “perpetrators of abuse must know that every eye is on them.”
A number of steps have been taken to tackle domestic violence such as the 914 hotline and the COPSQUAD Initiative, where police ranks will be trained to deal specifically with abuse.
“I would like to applaud the government for all the amazing work you are doing to really fight the whole scourge of the abuse against women and girls. I pledge on behalf of the British High Commission to do all we can to end violence against women and girls,” British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller said during brief remarks.
Meanwhile, similar sentiments were echoed by US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch.
“…it is so amazing to see so many supporters here today, I have been listening to some personal stories as we have been gathering and the US government likewise is supportive of all that you are doing,” the Ambassador said.