Friday 30 October, 2020

Women’s shelter calls for oversight committee on domestic violence

While efforts have been made in recent times to bring some level of protection to T&T’s women and children, a national solution is required to treat with the issue of domestic violence.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Shelter for Battered Women and Children have called for more long-term measures to be implemented.

The Shelter called for the creation of a joint sector oversight committee to work with them to establish working protocols and finance to achieve its goals. 

It said: “Laws alone are not all that is needed, policing alone is not all that is needed, there is the practical day to day dealing with and providing the healing process, that is what we do.”

The Shelter stressed that additional resources must be allocated in light of the additional strain placed on relationships as a direct result of Government measures to protect the nation during COVID-19.

“Part of rebuilding must include rebuilding the lives of our beaten and broken women and children,” the Shelter added.

The Shelter also called for support from both the public and private sectors as it identified funding as one of its immediate challenges.  

It said shelters had been forced to close due to a lack of funding. While its shelter needs to be renovated, it said it had no choice but to partially reopen as all shelters are at capacity.

The Shelter highlighted the urgent need for funding to continue offering its services.

“Shelters need to be properly funded to provide the services needed. In our shelter, residents, including their children, receive all medical services, therapeutic counseling, and housing and this includes all personal supplies and meals and legal services. Children are placed in schools, and at this time, they are attending online classes, plus being supervised by a private teacher.”

Stressing the need for holistic solutions, the Shelter said an ideal situation would include support from stakeholders to provide the following:

1. Skillset training for adult residents.

2. Provision of temporary free housing for residents after it has been determined that first, it is safe for them to leave and second, that they are emotionally and financially ready for this transition.

3. Continued therapy including home visits.

4. Perpetrator therapy to break the cycle of violence and enable positive co-parenting.

The Shelter for Battered Women and Children was established in 1987, by Diana Mahabir-Wyatt.

In making a final appeal for aid, the Shelter said the support and cooperation of all sectors are needed to help victims from potentially being a name in a death announcement to positive contributors to society. 

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