Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)??

As Government prepares to release the findings of the domestic violence survey within 24 hours, Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, is reporting that officials involved in the fight have "our work cut out for us".

While only stating at this time that the report "paints a picture" of the incidence of domestic violence in Barbados, Dr. Byer Suckoo said some pieces of legislation would need to be put in place.

She pointed out that sensitisation programmes would also have to be introduced, while current regulations would have to be enforced. "There are already laws to protect all of us when our human rights have been infringed, but we still find that domestic violence is not treated as a serious enough crime and people turn a blind eye [to it]…

"It is not a minor offence and too many women in this country are suffering… We have all seen it in our communities and it does impact families," she argued.

The results of the study will be made public tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9, when the Bureau of Gender Affairs hosts a symposium on domestic violence at the

Harcourt Lewis Training Centre, Keith Bourne Complex, Belmont Road, St. Michael. It will start at 9:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, in a message to observe November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which ends on December 10, Dr. Byer Suckoo called on all Barbadians to speak out and condemn violence against women.

According to her, this aggression against women was a vexing reality, which affected all sections of society, regardless of age, race, wealth or geography. She continued: "This violence is not just an individual and personal issue, but affects economic development through loss of time from work by the abused person, as well as through the sickness benefit costs to national insurance schemes.

"It is a public health crisis; since, very often, medical personnel and resources which should be used for chronic diseases and other illnesses, must be diverted to treat injured persons."

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