Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer

Government is on a mission to combat the incidence of domestic violence and is seeking the assistance of its partners in the media.

That is according to Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said there was a need to get more information out to the community on the myths and facts of domestic violence, the warning signs, prevention, challenges and responses if the country was to significantly reduce the prevalence of domestic violence.

Dr. Byer Suckoo’s comments came today while speaking to media managers at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Bureau of Gender Affairs at the Hilton Hotel to encourage them to focus on domestic violence as the island joins the international community to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence during the period November 25 to December 10, 2008.

She promised that Barbados’ actions would not stop after the events currently being planned to highlight domestic violence. “We are currently in the process of conducting a survey on the prevalence and demographic characteristics of domestic violence. We have instituted a data collection protocol on domestic violence and we will continue to work with stakeholders to provide and expand services to address the issue.

“These initiatives will help us to formulate policy and implement programmes to address the issue and we are calling on you to assist as far as possible with the means at your disposal,” the Minister told the gathering.

According to her, Government had been trying to provide responsive and preventive services to domestic violence, explaining that the Domestic Violence (Protective Orders) Act 1992 was a key instrument.

Dr. Byer Suckoo added that Barbados had been grappling with the issue of domestic violence for a long time, pointing out that it had been recorded in the country’s folklore through popular songs like “King Ja Ja Won’t Let Becca Lone” and “Millie Gone to Brazil”.

“Domestic violence is a very serious issue that affects families and communities; it affects the country as a whole through the provision of medical and counselling services; it affects productivity and there is a psychological effect on the victim and his or her families and friends,” the Minister said.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Barbados has been commemorating it for the last five years. The 16 days commence on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and culminate on December 10, Human Rights Day.

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