Violence policy under review

| 20/10/2008

(CNS): The government is forming a special panel to review policy and legislation as it relates to domestic and gender violence and abuse. Minister for Health Anthony Eden has said the group of experts will have thirty days to examine existing lawsand policies and then recommend what Cayman needs to do to seriously address this type of violence in the community.

Speaking at the Silent Witness March on Saturday, 18 October, the minister announced the intention to take a closer look at how the issue is currently dealt with and what is required to put a stop to domestic and gender violence. He said that the community must continue the work of Estella Scott-Roberts, a staunch advocate against such violence who was murdered on 10 October.

He said that the real challenge was to address the need for a cultural and behavioral switch in the community to spread the message that relationships based on power and control are flawed. “Violence against women is a male issue,” he said. “We need to redefine masculinity away from aggression and control.”

Paying tribute to Scott-Roberts and her work he said her message would not be ignored and that more must be done to stop the continued violence. He also said that in recognition of her efforts to form and for several years manage the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre he would speak to the Board of Directors about renaming it in her honour.

Above all he emphasized the need to continue speaking out against domestic and gender violence as Scott-Roberts had done. “We will not be silenced,” he added.

Eden said that something must be done to address the gender violence that is so common in the Caribbean region as a whole, and in Cayman he said it was a cause for everyone.

Cayman has made significant strides in recent years to address the issue of domestic violence. However, a number of local advocacy groups all state there is more to be done, and the Business and Professional Women’s Club has been seeking to have legislation passed to make stalking and sexual harassment against the law.

According to the Women’s Resource Centre, violence occurs in 21% of relationships, and 95% of that abuse is perpetrated by men. 70% of men who batter their wives, sexually or physically, abuse their children, and violent juvenile delinquents are 4 times more likely than other youth to come from homes in which their fathers beat their mothers. Children who witness domestic violence are 5 times more likely to become batterers or victims in their adulthood. Worldwide, one in 4 women experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives, and victims of domestic abuse will have suffered at least 35 beatings before making any formal report.

Anyone who needs help regarding these issues can contact the Women’s Resource Centre at 949-0006, the Crisis Centre 949-0366 or the RCIPS Family Support Unit 946-9185.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How about AFTER they have been convicted?? Many people get charged or arrested but they are not found guilty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    May I suggest taking a look at Sweden’s violence against women laws?  They have a very successful formula.  It requires re-education of everyone but it can be done.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would strongly suggest that we start posting their names (and photo) in the meda once a person has been arrested/charged for domestic abuse. Hopefully this deter them and help them get the help that they need.