Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo????

A near accurate account of the level of domestic violence in Barbados will soon be revealed.

Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, disclosed that the findings of the survey commissioned by the Bureau of Gender Affairs would be released within a few weeks.

To supplement the study, Dr. Byer Suckoo said a number of agencies were participating in a data collection protocol in an effort to garner the qualitative aspects of domestic violence so officials would be better informed and equipped to design appropriate strategies to eliminate this scourge.

She made the comments last Friday during the Purple Night Rally at Independence Square, which was aimed at bringing awareness of this plague that is affecting the Barbadian community.

The Minister told the large gathering that ???the magnitude of the problem is clouded by the fact that domestic violence is a crime that is under-reported and under-recorded???.

However, she argued that violence undermines progress towards human and economic development, adding that government spent vast sums on services, including, the police, criminal justice systems, counselling and training.

She called on all the major sectors in society to join with government in the fight to eliminate domestic violence from our shores. ???The effort demands new levels of coordination and integration between a variety of government sectors and civil society groups. First and foremost, men need to challenge other men to stop abusing women and to change the norms that encourage this violence,??? she said.

Dr. Byer Suckoo expressed the view that there was a need to develop protocols for identifying and referring cases of domestic violence to appropriate bodies and screening measures for detection and early intervention. ???People need to know what to do when they suspect domestic violence: who to call, what will happen. This would be similar to the Child Care Board, which everyone calls when they suspect child abuse. My Ministry is seeking to establish such a protocol in conjunction with our partners,??? she stated.

She added that she would like to see the incorporation of gender and domestic violence awareness into corporate training, as well as media campaigns to help reverse social attitudes that tolerate violence by questioning patterns of violent behaviour accepted by families and society.

???My Ministry extends its hand to the media as we seek to encourage them to focus on creating new messages and new responses to reduce domestic violence. We, therefore, will be making a conscious effort to make media professionals aware of the issues so that they can play an important role in addressing domestic violence,??? the Minister said.??


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