The numbers for reported cases of domestic violence against women are alarming and have prompted the St. David’s division of law enforcement into action as a means of sounding a clarion call to bring an end to the problem.
There were 159 reported cases of domestic violence on women in 2015 and so far for 2016, the number of reported cases stands at 126.
The St. David’s Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) together with the Ministry of Social Development and the St. David’s Police Station hosted a recent workshop at the La Sagesse Natural Works with victims of domestic violence to help turn the problem around.
A member of the CAB Isaac Bhagwan explained what the workshop entailed.
“The main presentations were done by the Ministry of Social Development, looking at the act as it relates to domestic violence. There were also a presentation from the police in terms of issues and concerns when persons report, how they react and what they can and cannot do,” he said.
One of activities that has been spotted as having the most effect on domestic violence is the street march involving the nation’s youth.
The march which was organised by the St. David’s Police Station, began at Westerhall Point and ended at Westerhall Playing Field.
According to Bhagwan, it is felt that the solution to the problem must start with the youth.
“When you have domestic violence it doesn’t affect only the adults, it affects children. Children live in homes, the more they could be aware of these issues, the more they could have a voice and to know things are not right and to seek help because that’s the whole idea of this awareness,” he said.
Officer in Charge of the St. David’s Police Station, Inspector Andrea Cadet suggested that a more proactive and heightening awareness of the problem within communities and the public at large should be the method to adopt against domestic violence on women.
This, she said is important “so that people can become more aware of what are the issues facing domestic violence, what are the issues experienced in St. David’s”.
“Today we are focusing (on) incorporating the youth and the children who are the nation’s future. We believe they too can play a pivotal role in addressing issues by pleading their cause and speaking out with their little voices,” she remarked.
Insp. Cadett admitted that the number of cases reported are not a true reflection of the problem of domestic violence against women in the parish and even islandwide.
“The reported cases are not a true reflection of the incidence. So you find that maybe it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of cases reported to the police. There are a lot of persons who are abused and for whatever reason do not want to come forward”, she said.
“We believe there is a trend, a shift, we’re seeing persons coming forward more than in previous years because the state has a more ready mechanism in place and I am speaking (about) law enforcements, social supports, legislation and all of that…”, she added.
The senior police officer is hopeful that through this heightened awareness of the problem that more victims will choose to speak out and seek the help that is needed to battle the problem.