Six men have graduated from the first cycle of the Partnership for Peace Programme which is being implemented by the Division of Family and Youth and UN Women.
The programme targets men who are or have been violent towards women and who have been referred by the Magistrates Courts. Originally, nine men started the programme in August this year, but only six completed the pilot cycle when it ended in November.
The second cycle is scheduled to commence on January 17, with 23 men.
Partnership for Peace is a violence intervention programme offering a 16-week curriculum. It is designed to encourage men to be accountable for their violent actions and to support them in achieving a violence-free lifestyle. It is based on the premise that violence is intentional and that abusive behaviours are chosen methods for gaining control of persons and situations.
The programme uses a psycho-educational approach in order to convey that violence is unacceptable and that violent habits can be broken. This is done through the sharing of concepts and techniques that help to replace violent behaviour with respect, open communication and healthy relationships. It focuses on perpetrator accountability and victims’ safety.
Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, in the Division of Family and Youth, Marva Howell, said that "for quite some time the focus had been on the violence and abuse meted out to women and children".?? Partnership for Peace, however, places the focus on the abuser, she noted.
"This violence has deep rooted negative effects on our families and sometimes results in children acting out or becoming abusers in their adult years. A lot of the legislation across the Caribbean promotes counselling when this abuse has been brought to light and even today, many civil society organisations have also advocated counselling.
"To date, the Magistrates have been quite receptive of the programme and the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth will continue with its efforts to work with various stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the programme and to diminish the number of domestic violence incidents. At the same time, work is continuing to enhance the domestic violence legislation," Ms. Howell disclosed.