Fri | Oct 20, 2017

St Mary front-line workers get domestic-violence training

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 12:22 AM
Acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant addresses police personnel and other frontline workers at a domestic violence workshop in St Mary last week.

PORT MARIA, St Mary:

Acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant surprised the participants of a domestic violence intervention workshop in Port Maria, St Mary, by dropping into their event at the Casa Maria Hotel late last Friday afternoon, to deliver a motivational address.

The two-day training session, which attracted dozens of police officers, social workers, school guidance counsellors, JPs, pastors, and community volunteers from across St Ann, St Mary, and Portland, aimed to teach best practices and raise awareness, and was hosted by the Jamaica Constabulary, the British High Commission, and the United States Embassy for the Area Two Police.

Speaking after the workshop, Grant told Rural Xpress: "Today, we're training police officers and other front-line workers and raising awareness about issues related to domestic violence, so that we can have better victim responses.

"It has been our belief, and evidence has proven, that violence prevention begins at home and therefore, if we don't start to deal with the violence that happens in the home, we will not be able to deal with the violence that happens in the community.

"When family members, parents, and intimate partners abuse and batter each other, especially when children are involved, it starts a cycle of violence that goes on for generations, which is the basis for a lot of the violence we see happening in communities.

"We have evidence that incidents that happen among community members began because of the values that young boys learn at home about how to treat girls and women, and the kind of entitlement they believe they should have.

"When you see that happening, it creates conflict in the community, so not only does battering and abuse happen in the home, but people learn a certain type of lesson, which they take out into the community, and that leads to community violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, conflict, quarrelling, anger, and the continuation of the cycle," said Grant.

During the workshop, which featured role plays and seminars exploring issues such as the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, and how best to work with people in abusive relationships, Grant encouraged officers to treat all cases equally, even if that required them calling Crime Stop anonymously to report a colleague for abusing their spouse.

Grant added: "In the long run, we hope that when you have better victim-friendly responses and hold perpetrators accountable for their battering and abuse, it will send a message that we have a zero-tolerance approach, and will respond appropriately".

rural@gleanerjm.com