Within a few days, Government will commence an initiative to help male perpetrators of domestic violence achieve a violence-free lifestyle.
The Partnership for Peace Programme will begin in earnest next Thursday, August 2, for approximately 12 men who have been violent to women.
And, Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, is of the opinion that the programme 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".
The 16-week psycho-educational programme has been designed to encourage offenders to take responsibility for their violent actions and equip them with skills to end that behaviour. 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.
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Underscoring the importance of this programme, Mr. Lashley said: "Abuse in any form, whether it is child abuse, sexual, verbal, emotional, physical and or neglect is wrong and should never be condoned. The implementation of the Partnership for Peace Programme signals Government’s commitment and fulfills one of our Manifesto promises to develop programmes and policies to eliminate the serious issue of domestic violence."
Mr. Lashley expressed the view that the programme would go a long way in not only empowering men, but women and ultimately families. "As each person recognises and accepts his or her role in the relationship that is being negatively affected by domestic violence, each individual will eventually be forced to take a stance and say ???no more, enough is enough," he surmised.
Participants will be referred mainly by the Magistrates’ Courts, but self-referral from state and non-state agencies will also be allowed access to the training. The Partnership for Peace Programme is based on the premise that violence is intentional and abusive behaviours are chosen methods for gaining control of persons and situations. It will, in the first instance, address male-on-female violence, but Minister Lashley indicated that "the initial emphasis on male offenders in no way minimises the need to focus, in the future phases of the programme, on female-on-male violence".
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-violence relationships.
This initiative is being managed by the Division of Family and Youth, in collaboration with UN Women.