Twenty-three Barbadian men who have been violent towards women began undergoing training today in the second cycle of Government’s Partnership for Peace Programme.

Coordinated by the Division of Family, the programme seeks to encourage men to take responsibility for their violent actions and supports them in achieving a violence-free lifestyle. During the training session, participants will examine Anger Management, Power and Control in Relationships, Domestic Violence and the Law, Effective Communication, Manhood and Womanhood, among others.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Irvine Best, explained that the 16-week programme "is based on the premise that violence is intentional and that abusive behaviours are chosen methods for gaining control of individuals and situations".

Mr. Best said it would use a psycho-educational approach to convey to participants that violence is unacceptable and violent habits could be broken through the sharing of concepts and techniques that help to replace such behaviour with preferences for respect, open

Participants are referred to the programme by the Magistrates’ Court and the Permanent Secretary noted that the magistrates "have been quite receptive" to it. However, self-referral from state and non-state agencies will also be allowed access to the training.

Mr. Best stated that the Ministry would continue with its efforts to work with various stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the programme and reduce the number of domestic violence incidents. "At the same time work is continuing to enhance the domestic violence legislation," he assured.

UN Women recently introduced the Partnership for Peace Programme in some Caribbean islands, with the pilot phase starting in Barbados in August 2012. Six men completed it.

The programme’s 10 goals include helping participants understand the cost of violence to themselves, their partners, children and society in general; teaching them skills for addressing conflict and responding to stress; empowering batterers to take steps towards improving their lives and relationships; and creating a network of men who will advocate for non-violent relationships.

When the Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, announced the commencement of the programme last year, he said it should be deemed "as a new beginning and not a punitive measure for the men, as they will be afforded an opportunity to turn their lives around and embark on a life-changing journey that could reap significant long-term benefits".??


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