Friday 24 May, 2019

WINAD: TTPS must be held to account

Murder victims Abigail Chapman, Rachel Madoo and K'la Marie Solomon Cain, all allegedly filed reports concerning domestic issues, but this was not enough to save their lives. 

Director of the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD), Folade Mutota, said the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service should be held accountable for domestic violence crimes. 

Speaking to LoopTT, Mutota said the police service must be held to account when police officers fail to uphold their duties toward victims of domestic violence.

"The crisis of domestic violence in T&T is not new and is a consequence of the state not providing adequate protection to women from violence in their homes or in public spaces."

"The combined high levels of sexual and domestic violence against women in T&T suggests some level of acceptability of violence against women in our social norms and culture."

"This matter requires consistent and effective responses from state agencies such as the TTPS.  It also requires the government and the population to hold the TTPS to account when the TTPS fails to carry out its duty of care to women," Mutota said. 

Mutota: Reports needed on domestic violence incidents 

Mutota said the state must make take action, starting with a public declaration condemning domestic violence, as well as police reports on domestic violence incidents. 

"Government must make a public declaration in condemnation of violence against women including directing the TTPS to operationalize a plan of action to review all the complaints of domestic violence made by women," Mutota said.

She added that the police service should provide a status report on their investigations and completion of inquiries at its weekly news briefing, starting from this month.

She said the Ministry of National Security should also ensure that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) includes weekly news briefing reports on completed investigations of all complaints involving violence against women, starting from April 2018. 

"This should give the TTPS sufficient time to source information from all stations and police districts," she said. 

Address domestic violence issues, starting with young people

Mutota said advising young people is a critical part of addressing the issue.

"Public awareness is needed focusing on women's right to live a life free from violence."

"The conversation about training boys about how to treat women is largely based on a notion that privileges men as the legitimate leaders in the private and public spaces and consequently diminishes women's autonomy."

"Men and boys should be socialized to respect women because women and girls are equal human beings to men and boys and deserve the same opportunities and protection as men and boys," Mutota said. 

Earlier this year four women were brutally killed in domestic violence incidents:

On March 8 Rachel Madoo died after she poisoned herself due to an abusive relationship.

On March 14, Abigail Chapman, her teenaged daughter and her friend, and former teacher Michael Scott were murdered in another incident associated with domestic violence. It is alleged that the suspect is a jilted lover. 

On February 26, Sangre Grande teacher Margaret Ragoobar-Guevarra was brutally shot to death in a domestic incident. Her alleged attacker was in critical condition after shooting himself in the face.

On February 2, Tobago nursery teacher K'la Marie Solomon Cain was brutally beaten to death with a hammer in a domestic incident. Her attacker later died in hospital of poisoning.

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