One shelter not enough, says EU Delegation head
Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica Malgorzata Wasilewska has called for the establishment of more safe spaces for women who are victims of gender-based violence and has revealed that she has started exploring opportunities for the establishment of a shelter in western Jamaica.
"The truth that is one shelter is not enough. Collectively, we have to do better and provide more safe spaces for women," she said during the launch of the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston yesterday.
The country's only shelter for victims of domestic abuse was recently reopened after extensive refurbishing. The shelter, which is operated by Women's Inc, was remodelled courtesy of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Wasilewska said that she was honoured to visit the facility recently but was shocked by some of the stories she was told.
"I heard firsthand, for the first time, stories of some of the women who have suffered abuse and how it impacts them and their family, including their children," she said.
"I was deeply disturbed and shocked by the extent and multitude of abuse and violence against these women," she stated.
She said that she was pleased that efforts were being made to address the abuse of women and children.
"Like everybody else, I am deeply alarmed by the scale of violence, including violence against women and children, which still takes place every day in Jamaica, but also all over the world," she said.
"The fact is that when women are physically, sexually, and psychologically abused, their ability to participate fully in all aspects of society is seriously limited," she explained.
She said that following her visit to the shelter, she, along with the High Commissioner of Canada in Jamaica Laurie Peters, started a conversation with the private sector in Montego Bay to look at opportunities to open another shelter.
"It is clear to me that this is a task that requires unity and also sectors of society working together," Wasilewska said.