Barbados today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UN Women, to boost efforts to end gender-based violence and give women greater access to justice.
Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, were among those signing the MOU.
The signing took place during an event hosted by the United Nations Sub-Regional Team for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with Government on the topic Justice and Response ??? Ending Gender-Based Violence in Barbados at UN House, Marine Gardens, Hastings, Christ Church.
It was one of the events being held to coincide with the 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government Summit, which got under way today.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Brathwaite stated that the signing demonstrated Government???s commitment to strengthening what it would be doing in this area over the next two years.
He explained that over the last few months Government had been working assiduously to address many gender-related issues by looking at its juvenile justice system and overall family law framework.
???Our vision is that when someone comes before the criminal justice system they are exposed to a cadre of trained individuals who are sensitive to the needs of women, boys and girls and will ensure they receive the kind of sensitivity that is required,??? the Attorney General said.
In delivering the keynote address, Mr. Ban expressed concern that the Caribbean had one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world, with three Caribbean countries being in the top 10 for recorded rapes.
He stated that in the Eastern Caribbean, UNICEF estimated that child abuse rates stood between 20 and 45 per cent, with at least one in five children being affected.
???Too many women are afraid to seek help. One study showed that up to two- thirds of all victims suffer without ever reporting the crime,??? the Secretary General said, adding that he was ???outraged??? by the statistics.??However, he commended Barbados on its efforts to reform its legislation and confront the problem.