New initiatives to help perpetrators of gender-based violence starting 2023

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New programmes to offer help to perpetrators of gender-based violence will come on stream in 2023, according to Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud.

Dr Persaud on Wednesday said eradicating domestic and gender-based violence while ensuring that the perpetrators can remain useful to society is the focus of the ministry’s mission in 2023.

The ministry will embark on projects to stem the triggers of violent behaviour portrayed by persons and upon completion, the Hope and Justice Centres will host these services.

“I have always believed that sometimes people become violent because that is what they were exposed to as young people and while they may try to change they can’t always because there is so much acceptance of it,” she said.

“We are changing a lot of the culture of domestic violence and the culture of how people deal with conflict so you will see next year when we will be launching programmes and initiatives to complement what we started,” The minister added.

In 2023, programmes will start for anger management and conflict resolution to complement the training that has already started this year.

Notably, the ministry has launched several programmes that are aimed at relieving victims of different forms of violence, however, these new programmes will also include getting the perpetrators the help that they need.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud

“We’re looking at the best practices around the world and we’re also looking at our own domestic situation. We’re looking to be very progressive but also very protective because we are not allowing too much subjectivity when it comes to how you deal with domestic violence.”

“So, we can have the punitive measures and a big component of this is the rehab of the perpetrators. So people will have to be rehabilitated. It is making things very much a part of what people must do remedially and not just leaving people to the wilderness,” the minister said.

The Hope and Justice Centre is expected to provide a wide range of services to persons experiencing violence, including legal and medical aid, counselling, and support with law enforcement.

“So people will be able to go to places and access this and the big programme that will capture it all is our Hope and Justice Centre. That’s a big addition where people can go to what we call a one-stop shop and access all the services in one place,” Dr Persaud said.

In efforts to address the judicial response to gender-based violence, the ministry has engaged the National Assembly to make an amendment to the Domestic Violence Act to cover all forms of violence within households. But Dr Persaud said this legislation will not stand on its own. She said that the new bill to deal with granting and refusal of bail will also correlate with this new legislation.

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