Enough is enough!
On March 8-9, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, in partnership with the Ministry of National Security/Jamaica Partners for Peace, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme implemented by the Ministry of National Security and Woman Inc, put on a domestic violence intervention training programme to help front-line staff better deal with domestic violence victims.
Dubbed 'Enough is Enough! It's Time to Break Free of Violence and Abuse', the seminar took a group of police officers, social workers, health-care workers and community representatives through a series of activities to help sensitise them to better deal with victims of domestic abuse whom they encounter.
The two-day seminar included a role play which required participants to immerse themselves in a domestic violence situation. Topics addressed included dealing with conflict management, and suspending judgement towards male or female victims who walk in to report domestic abuse.
A key point made on the second day of the training by presenter Joyce Hewett of Woman Inc is to, "Never ever tell them (a victim) to go," Hewett said. She explained that it's the front-line workers' responsibility to indicate all the options available to the victim, but that person should never put themselves in a position where they are telling the victim what to do.
Pierre Sumse of UNAIDS, the organisation which funded the training, addressed the link between domestic abuse and the contraction of HIV/Aids as many women in these situations have little control over their sexual lives with the abuser.
"It is clear, governments and communities are failing women and girls. There are few sustainable solutions that enable women and girls to protect themselves from HIV, violence and poverty. This is grossly unacceptable, particularly because the world can do much better.
Empowered women and girls are critical agents of change in reversing the epidemic. If society invests in the health of women and girls, it is possible for them to have the future they want," said Sumse, reading a statement from the organisation.
The seminar was held at the Bank of Nova Scotia Training College.