Domestic violence legislation requires enabling environment
- Dr Barnett
September 23, 2000
Legislative reform alone cannot solve the problem of domestic violence. It must be supported by an enabling environment for proper implementation.
Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, Dr Carla Barnett, reminded the audience of mostly police officers and social workers of this, at the launching of the domestic violence intervention training programme for members of the two groups at the Georgetown Club on Thursday.
The training programme, expected to end on December 7, is a collaborative effort of the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Association of Commissioners of Caribbean Police (ACCP).
Dr Barnett reminded that the Caribbean sub-regional review and appraisal report on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action clearly made the point that legislative reform alone was not enough. She said the report pointed out that what was required was an enabling environment for proper implementation of the legislation including research, education, shelter provision and the administration of justice.
Dr Barnett noted that a strong policy response that embodied the range of issues must support the legislation. She added that the training programme was the final part of a three-phase project and said it was extremely important to have support systems established and working.
Coordinator of CAFRA, Nelcia Robinson, stated that during this phase, members of the Guyana Police Force and social workers who were previously trained along with over 200 of their counterparts in 17 Caribbean countries, would deliver training to their peers. Robinson said coming out of a 1997 conference in Suriname, a decision was taken by CAFRA to address major issues relating to domestic violence. She said the organisation wrote a project and sought funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which asked the organisation to put forward a regional project. In 1999 a three-phase project was submitted with the aim of training all police officers in Caribbean countries and some social workers. She said the first and second phases of the project were completed and the third had now started. The first was the production of manuals to be used for training. The second involved the training of over 200 police officers and social workers.
Funding for the entire programme was obtained from the IDB, the CDB, the UK Department for International Development and the United Nations.
Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis, publicly supported the training programme noting that all were concerned with the scourge of domestic violence. He noted that the problems associated with domestic violence were here to stay and every effort must be made to "grapple" with them. The commissioner said that often members of the force were faced with victims of domestic violence keeping quiet or not coming forward at crucial times. He pledged the police force's "solid support" for the eradication of domestic violence.
Follow the goings-on in Guyana
in Guyana Today