Saturday 24 October, 2020

Greater intervention needed in domestic abuse situations, group says

Authorities should consider a comprehensive multidisciplinary investigative approach supported by research when it comes to domestic murders.

The renewed call by the Coalition against Domestic Violence follows the brutal murder of Penal mother of two, Reshma Kanchan, by her ex-lover on Tuesday.

The CADV in a statement on Wednesday extended its condolences to her family and called for appropriate psychosocial support and other support interventions to be provided.

The advocacy group questioned the police response to alleged subsequent reports, if she had sought a protection order and what was known about her perpetrator.

It noted that at least 20 women were killed by persons with whom they had relationships for the year so far, demonstrating the need for greater intervention in domestic abuse situtations.

The CADV said: “We repeat our call for investigations into domestic murders that include seeking answers to these questions by the authorities. We believe that these inquiries will give us a better understanding of how to intervene to prevent these preventable tragedies.

Such inquiries can also highlight areas of improvement in the responses by communities and by state institutions. They will contribute to strengthening the culture of accountability of all of us to do more, to speak up, stand up and act to protect and prevent domestic violence.”

It said these investigations should be spearheaded by the TTPS Gender-based Violence Unit, the Gender and Child Affairs Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, or the Victim and Witness Support Unit with specialist support if necessary, from research institutions such as The University of the West Indies.

This, the group said, would allow for the collection of data that can then be made available to all stakeholders to better inform ongoing and future interventions.

Given the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CADV said a whole of government and societal approach is needed to properly address the root causes behind domestic murders.

The group suggested school and out of school-based interventions, gender-sensitive parenting programmes, programmes engaging men including perpetrator interventions/batterer’s intervention, and the integration of gender analysis into teacher and police education programmes, utilising multiple strategies including social media.

In this regard, it again called on government to take action on the finalisation of the national action plan to end gender-based violence.

“We call upon the government to take action… Domestic murders must be stopped. We can stop domestic violence. Let us learn and let us act,” the group concluded.

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