National Domestic Violence Policy To Be Developed

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Programme Officer at the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Nalita Gajadhar; Acting Director of the Bureau, John Hollingsworth; and Lecturer at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, Halimah DeShong, in conversation before the start of the consultation. (Image:??BGIS/A. Miller)
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Barbados is a step closer to fashioning a National Domestic Violence Policy which would chart the way forward in this area.

To this end, the Bureau of Gender Affairs hosted a consultation today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.?? It was organised for close to 60 of its stakeholders to develop interventions to reduce the incidence of domestic violence here.

During the brief opening ceremony, Acting Director of the Bureau, John Hollingsworth, said the policy would also outline protocols and identify mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the efforts so as to achieve the stated objectives.

"Once this is completed, Barbadians will be assured that there is a concerted effort by Government and stakeholders of domestic violence to make their families and communities safe from this barbaric practice. With all players understanding their roles towards achieving the goal of eliminating domestic violence from our shores, I am confident the target will not be as insurmountable as some may believe at this time," Mr. Hollingsworth observed.

He acknowledged that the empirical data gathered from the domestic violence survey last December, indicated that its prevalence rate in Barbados was close to that of the wider world. Mr. Hollingsworth stressed, though, that the Bureau, and by extension Government, would not take the situation lightly or become complacent with it.

"We empathise with the families of those who would have paid the ultimate price, with their lives, as a result of domestic violence and we want to do all that is necessary to reduce this particular type of pain and suffering," he told his audience.

The Acting Director added that during the day’s deliberations, the participants would focus on how legislation could be enhanced to fill loop holes and create a greater deterrence to perpetrators and how to make the available services more responsive to the needs of persons who seek them.

In recent times, the Bureau and its stakeholders have developed a data collection protocol to record the incidents of domestic violence, and put in place several initiatives to increase awareness of the issue.

saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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