JIS News

Story Highlights

  • It is critical that victims of sexual abuse are treated with courtesy and sensitivity
  • One such initiative is to train front line workers and stakeholders
  • Further training for front line workers will be held in October

The Government has reiterated its commitment to the eradication of gender based violence in Jamaica.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer noted that this is being done through a number of initiatives such as training.

“One such initiative is to train front line workers and stakeholders to sensitively and effectively handle gender based violence cases and in particularly sexual assault. It is critical that victims of sexual abuse are treated with courtesy and sensitivity and that their cases are handled in an efficient and timely manner,” Miss Falconer said.

She was speaking at the handing over of three refrigerators to the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA). The ceremony was held on Thursday, September 12, at the Centre’s Ruthven Road headquarters in Kingston.

The three refrigerators were donated by the United Nations Population Fund and will be used to store medical evidence.

Miss Falconer also informed that further training for front line workers will be held in October, where focus will be placed on the management of sexual abuse cases.

She added that the workshop will be funded by the United Nations Population Fund and is being coordinated through the assistance of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and CISOCA.

She also mentioned that a working committee on gender based violence, which was established in November is currently reviewing the draft national strategic plan to eliminate gender based violence.

“Through our dialogue we have identified several priority areas, one of which is prevention. This was so identified as we believe that the issue of public education and awareness, is critical to prevent and curtail the levels of gender based violence within our society,” the Information Minister said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director, United Nations Population Fund, Siti Oussein noted that sexual violence is a violation of human rights and dignity of women and girls.

She noted that it is a challenge that continues to haunt the government and people of the Caribbean.

“According to the United Nations office of Drugs and Crime and the World Bank, the Caribbean has some of the highest rates of sexual violence worldwide. Jamaica figures prominently among them with a rate of 51 rapes per 100,000, which is significantly higher than the average of 15 rapes per 100,000 recorded among other countries outside the region,” Mrs. Oussein said.

She noted that figures show that women and children are at risk and urgent action is needed to end this assault on them.

“It requires a multi sectoral approach to reduce the high level of violence in general to eliminate the apparent normalisation in acceptance of violence in the society. This entails among other things supporting right education, sex education, violence prevention and conflict resolution,” she stated further.

Mrs. Oussein said the refrigerators will be used to store forensic evidence, which will go a far way in assuring access to justice to all victims.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police, CISOCA Miss Gladys Brown expressed her appreciation for the appliances.

“We have been suffering from the lack of some refrigerators particularly in Hanover, Trelawny and another area that we have identified and this afternoon it is indeed a privilege to say how grateful we are because we have seen how important it is to have our medical evidence properly stored,” Miss Brown said.

The CISOCA is a branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

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