Some 1,600 members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) have undergone a training programme to properly handle reports of gender based violence, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud has said.
These officers graduated from the COPSQUAD2000 that was launched by the Ministry last year. Through COPSQUAD, at least one officer at every police station across the country will receive specialized training on how to address issues of domestic violence. Dr Persaud, while being a guest on the weekly webinar –Guyana Dialogue- on Thursday said since the launch in August 2021, some 1,600 officers were trained.
“We have completed training1600 of those [police officers], to deal in a more professional way with those who make reports, to write good case reports, to have insight and knowledge of the legislation and to be able to exercise best practice when dealing with any case of domestic violence,” Dr Persaud said.
It has been reported that one in three women experience domestic violence, here in Guyana. 55 per cent of the women experience at least one form of violence, according to a national survey on gender-based violence in Guyana in 2019. But it must be noted that forms of violence is not secluded to women alone. Men, elders and children are also victims of violence within homes.
Dr Persaud highlighted that with each of these cases that needs to be reported the police must know how to carry out their duty.
“One of the biggest bugbears in fighting and tackling domestic violence and child abuse and elder abuse has been the police and how they deal with people,” the minister said.
The police officers, through this initiative, have been trained for each reported case to be treated with the level of seriousness and urgency that it requires. This is in keeping with the ill effects that domestic violence brings with it including, instability in families, disruption of lives, psychological and physical scars, and even death.
In addition to this initiative, the ministry also launched its pro-bono 500 initiative which provides survivors of gender-based violence with free legal representation. There is also the Women’s Grocery Voucher Programme, dubbed “SAFE—Stop Abuse, Stay Empowered” which provides survivors with a $15,000 voucher for groceries redeemable at Massy stores outlets.