Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo,??addressing the audience at the symposium on??domesatic violence.??

Any efforts to accelerate the fight to eradicate gender-based violence from society will require stakeholders to make demands at the political, societal and individual levels.

This is the view of Minister of Family, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said at the political stage, stakeholders must demand that Government continues to recognise and act on all forms of gender-based violence, while creating the environment for other partners to initiate strategies to combat it.

She made the comments today while addressing the Bureau of Gender Affairs’ symposium on domestic violence at the Harcourt Lewis Training Centre, Keith Bourne Complex.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the gathering: "At the societal level, we must demand that the public remains sensitive to the issue, so that any and every act of gender violence, in whatever form it manifests itself, is denounced. At the individual level, there is need for us to demand that women and victims are treated with dignity and respect, and that our relationships are not built around the dichotomy of abused-abuser or victim-perpetrator."

She further stated that political goodwill was necessary to wipe out gender aggression and re-affirmed Government’s commitment to eradicate this scourge from society.

The Minister continued: "Only recently, some magistrates have sent a strong message to the perpetrators by remanding them to prison. This is indeed a positive development which could provide the impetus for legislative change. The Government is also reviewing that legislation. The Family Law Council has taken up that charge in conjunction with the Ministry and that legislation is also being reviewed."

She warned stakeholders that they could not be passive players in the fight, but rather, be leaders in this herculean task. "Whether we are successful or not will be determined to a large extent on how we commit ourselves to the goal of no gender-based violence; take all possible actions we can to educate and assist victims, perpetrators, children and authorities; and demand commitment and action from our governments and other key players," she opined.

Dr. Byer Suckoo admitted that school children must be educated about domestic violence, so the cycle could be broken at that stage.

The findings of the survey on the prevalence of domestic violence were released during the forum and the Minister promised the audience that their recommendations would be used to guide Government’s programmes and provide the necessary services to address the issue.

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