Clarendon Parish Development Committee targets gender based violence
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
The Clarendon Parish Devel-opment Committee Benevolent Society will be training 21 persons in district areas as referral officers who will be targeting gender-based violence.
Melbourine McPherson, chairperson of the Youth and Child Protection Committee, a subset of the parish committee and through which the programme will be powered, said the referrals, who will be first responders in their communication, will be trained in basic assessment, basic counselling, record keeping and case management.
The training, which comes at a cost of $1,62,500, is funded by the Department of Foreign Trade and Development (DFATD).
"What we have found out is that gender-based violence and sexual abuse is prevalent in Clarendon. It is very important for us, too, as a committee and a parish to get the assistance needed for those victims," she said, speaking on the necessity of the programme.
The ultimate goal of training the referrals, according to McPherson, is to enable victims to take charge of their own lives.
"So we want to ensure that we get community referral officers to identify victims, make basic assessments and refer them to the responsible agency, whether it be Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Child Development Agency, Women's Centre or just the guidance councillor within the school of these areas."
The project will kick off in two communities Kellits and Lionel Town - with the referral officer liaising with the two schools in the areas Kellits and Bustamante high schools.
McPherson pointed out that the referral officers will aid in spotting troubled children, and noting thatnfrom her observation, the ratio of guidance counsellors to the student population could allow for students to fall through the cracks.
"Guidance counsellors will work closely with referral officers," she said.
The referral officers, which will total 21, are drawn from justices of the peace, community leaders and those who come highly recommended as there will be strict emphasis on confidentiality, to McPherson.