Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Let aggressors cool off

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The new crime plan outlined by the Government presents perhaps the most progressive response to domestic violence, and in particular, violence against women and girls in Jamaica's immediate history.

The recent spate of killings and rapes of our women and girls has left the nation reeling. Women and girls are terrified of negotiating public spaces, and accessing public transportation is seen as perilous and potentially deadly.

We see the Government's plans as encouraging and the beginning of a commitment to respond to issues of domestic violence in a progressive manner. We believe that we cannot continue to operate as if it is business as usual; we need to do things differently in order for us to get the results we want.

We note the discomfort being expressed in the public about the proposal for the one- to 24-hour cooling-off period. However, we see this as a good use of a provision that is already on the books.

We believe that the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are fully cognisant of the fact that the rules of the game have changed, and they are also required to work in the interest of Jamaica's women and girls. We also want to commend the Government's commitment to the building of two shelters for women who are survivors of domestic violence.




We want to assure Prime Minister Holness and Minister Grange that we are watching, and we expect to see action around the proposed shelters as soon as possible, especially because this is not a new plan.

We encourage all non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, as well as opinion leaders and members of corporate Jamaica, to show support for the new measures.

Debate is necessary, and we are happy to see the conversations that are being had about the potential effectiveness of the measures outlined, but we must commit to not reducing this issue to the usual partisan narrative.