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Where are our fathers? - Gender-based programme launched to stem violence

Published:Monday | February 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross

National Security Minister Peter Bunting is calling for a social paradigm shift in Jamaica, aimed at ensuring that the nation's children do not continue to be raised fatherless. Based on research done in the United States of America, United Kingdom and the Caribbean, 50 per cent of boys in Jamaica grow up without fathers.

Children raised without fathers tend to usually lean towards a life of delinquency.

This announcement was made at the Marriott Hotel, St Andrew last Thursday at the launch of the Next GENDERation tool kit to support ongoing efforts to stem Jamaica's epidemic of violent crimes.

"It is really a development imperative, not just for Jamaica, but for the entire region," Bunting said.

"Increasingly, we realise that we have to take the gender dimension into consideration when we design and implement violence prevention and citizen security programmes. Every responsible person has a role to play in curbing this crippling crime problem," he explained.

Lisa Hanna, Sandrea Falconer and Ronald Thwaites were also present in their capacity as ministers of government.

In Jamaica, violence is a widespread issue which threatens development on all levels. The main problem that prevents wholesome education outcomes is the decline of social capital and particularly the weakness in family structures.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites said the health and family life curriculum in schools is now more robust and is more specific than it was before.

The toolkit includes a range of animations and videos. The video presentations contain material to sensitise young people on the issues of bullying and gang violence. Toolkits will be distributed throughout schools.

Falconer told the gathering that issues relating to gender-based violence and sexual harassment are too often taken for granted.




"We have to recognise that some of what is seen as normal in our culture, in most other societies, it's not acceptable and when we seek to address these issues, we have to realise that here in Jamaica, we are swimming against some cultural currents. That is why we have to creatively and strategically use the traditional media and the new media to tackle some of the ingrained attitudes which you know die hard," Falconer said.

"I go to a place every Tuesday where I am bullied, and I have chosen a profession that women are not necessarily supposed to be getting involved with," Hanna said.

"It's not an easy road, but it's an enjoyable road, women who have gone before me, like Portia Simpson Miller, like Babsy Grange, who have broken down certain barriers".