National Policy Document on Domestic Violence for 2007 implementation

Kaieteur News
December 10, 2006

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More cases of domestic violence are being reported following heightened public awareness campaigns by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, and the task force established to address the issue is drafting a National Policy Document for implementation in 2007.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF), the media, and the Human Services Ministry have been receiving more reports of violence, committed mostly on women.

“Currently, information gathered has shown that more cases of domestic violence are being reported, and this is as a result of our rigorous public awareness campaign which is ongoing,” Administrator of the Women's Affairs Bureau (WAB), Hymawattie Lagan, disclosed.

Lagan said, “Come 2007, we will be beefing up our programme to ensure that everyone in society is aware of the dangers surrounding domestic violence and the need for them to speak out. We are going to be more proactive in our educational programmes.”

A training programme held earlier in the year for members of the Guyana Police Force has proven very beneficial, since in most of the police stations countrywide, there are established domestic violence units, which was one of the many recommendations coming out of the programme.

“The Police Force continues to work closely with the Ministry, and we are very happy that we are all in this together. Only recently, members of the Force have been coming to the Ministry, the media, and other organisations to gather information on how they can assist victims of domestic violence, and how they should treat such cases,” she said.

With respect to dealing with the perpetrators, Lagan said, “As the cases are reported, they are being investigated by the Police, and even by staff of our Ministry. So we are taking action, but the court system is taking too long.”

Protection for victims, Lagan said, is also being addressed. The Ministry is working closely with Help and Shelter Organisation to provide a shelter on the East Coast Demerara, she said.

Earlier in the year, government gave $6M for the upkeep of the organisation, which also houses Trafficking in Persons (TIP) victims.

“While the victims are at the shelter, they are counseled, and they undergo skills training programmes before being reintegrated into society. The Ministry also caters for the perpetrators of domestic violence and TIP, and after they complete the training and counselling, upon their consent, they are reunited and are monitored by the Ministry,” Lagan said.

She reassured that all matters of domestic violence and other forms of abuse which are reported to the Ministry are handled in the strictest confidence.