Attacks on women spark more concerns
The Cabinet is set to review the National Strategic Action Plan on Gender-based Violence come next month.
Minister with responsibility for gender affairs, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, made the announcement yesterday as she noted that the Andrew Holness-led administration has taken note of the recent spate of horrific violence against several women across the country, resulting in brutal killings.
"I not only condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the atrocities, but I'm moving, as a member of this Government, to prevent acts of gender violence, provide greater protection for victims, and to deal effectively with perpetrators," said Grange.
According to Grange, the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan on Gender-based Violence will begin immediately after Cabinet gives its assent.
"The plan will require action from across the whole of government to ensure that we deal effectively with gender violence. It includes proposals to improve the implementation of laws and support services for victims of gender violence - male and female. And, importantly as well, the plan will have provisions for the resocialisation and rehabilitation of men who perpetrate gender violence," added Grange.
But she argued that while governmental action is vital to prevent and end gender violence, success is also dependent on people taking a stand and using the mechanisms in place and those to be implemented to deal with the problem.
"It is one thing for us to have harsh penalties for gender violence, but to punish the perpetrators we need convictions - and that requires people speaking up,"
Grange's comments came after the Senate last Friday approved its members to the Joint Select Committee to review laws relating to violence against women, children, the elderly, and persons living with disabilities.
"This means that we now have a full committee from both Houses of Parliament to continue this important work which was stalled in 2014.
"I had given a commitment to the nation that the committee, which has been dormant since 2014, would be reconvened as my Government believes the work that has been stalled for so long is vital in helping to address gender violence, among other critical public safety concerns.
"Ending gender violence is urgent and the committee, to be chaired by the justice minister, will begin its work early in January," Grange noted.
In the meantime, the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) has expressed concern about the periodic reports of domestic and gender-based violence across the island, including brutal acts of murder committed against women.
"These acts of violence - whether they occur in the privacy of a home or within public spaces - are a reminder of the importance of educating and empowering members of our society on how to foster healthy loving relationships," said the NPSC.
"We wish to encourage parents who have become victims of harmful or violent behavioural patterns exhibited by their partner to seek professional assistance. This may also include seeking guidance and protection under the law through The Domestic Violence Act (1996)."