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#EnoughIsEnough - Grange: More help for women in abusive relationships come 2019

Published:Monday | December 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Greater help is coming in 2019 for women wanting to escape domestic violence.

Minister with responsibility for gender affairs Olivia 'Babsy' Grange made the announcement yesterday on the heels of last week's murder-suicide in east Kingston, in which 40-year-old Anika Taylor was stabbed to death by her 29-year-old boyfriend, Jonathan 'Paul' Riley, who killed himself inside their yard.

"In recent times, we have heard many horrific cases of domestic violence. The war against intimate-partner violence will not be won if we do not work with our men and boys. I will be doing more work with the local men's groups through the Men's Department at the Bureau of Gender Affairs while strengthening the policy side of reframing positive masculinity," Grange told The Gleaner.

She said that now that the Government has acquired a national shelter to offer short- to medium-term housing and counselling to women who have fled violent relationships, work will be done with local and international partners to ensure that it is properly furnished.

According to Grange, amendments will be made to some legislation in the new year in an effort to further empower women.

"As minister, through the recently created Gender Advisory Council, I will continue to introduce and strengthen preventive measures to our existing child and women protection system, like taking a hands-on approach at the community level to empower and sensitise. We intend to work with other ministries, specifically the Ministry of National Security, to explore options such as parenting, conflict resolution, coping with trauma, and skill development.

"In the interim, we continue to study successful models around the world, for instance, in New Zealand, where victims of domestic violence are entitled to be paid for days away from work so as to access help. This is something to aspire to," said Grange.

She pointed to a recently launched Internet forum that is designed to give abused women better access to help.

"We have launched the online gender-based violence platform, which will allow users to share photos and videos, join forums, take part in polls, and access resources related to gender-based violence. This is an important tool," said Grange.