Police need to do more to ensure women's safety
April 28, 2007
Help and Shelter says it is appalled at the recent escalation of violence and murder of women in Linden and called on the police to redouble their efforts to ensure that women and their children are safe.
The group, in a press release, said it is committed to the eradication of all forms of violence in the society and, in particular, domestic violence and child abuse. It called on the Linden Police Force to ensure that women and their children "are given the very best of protection and security at all times and that those responsible for these terrible acts of violence are brought to justice." The incident in which 18-month-old Shaquan Nero was killed and his mother Bernadette sustained head injuries raises concerns once again about the police response to domestic violence reports.
As had been reported in the April 6 edition of this newspaper, Bernadette Nero had made a 911 call to the police station for help against her abuser and even when she explained that the abuser was outside and that she would have been in greater danger if she attempted to leave the house, the police never came. The A&F Police Division (Linden) statement confirms the details of the incident but not the call for help.
The Shelter said that domestic violence often results in murder or severe physical injury but whether or not it leaves physical scars, most victims suffer severe emotional trauma. It therefore reiterates its call to the Guyana Police Force to treat all reports of domestic violence seriously and to comply with their own procedures for the safety of victims and their children. "The Domestic Violence Act, which was passed for the express purpose of providing protection against such violence, must be made easily accessible in every area of Guyana and the Police Force must advise domestic violence victims about and comply with their responsibilities under the Act," the Shelter said.
The Shelter said the increasing murder and other acts of violence against women in the society are absolutely unacceptable. Therefore, a concerted effort must be made to strengthen existing laws and policies and institute new ones. The Shelter also said while it notes the progress the Linden police have made in arresting perpetrators of crimes much more needs to be done to prevent them.