National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting has appealed to Jamaicans to be their “brother’s keeper” and to avoid turning a blind eye to domestic violence.
He emphasised that Jamaicans must find a way to intervene if they become aware of domestic disputes in their communities, as what often appears to be a small matter can escalate into a dangerous situation.
“We have to find a way to intervene and to [refer] these situations to persons who are trained and capable of dealing with it, whether the police, psychologists or pastors,” the Minister urged.
Mr. Bunting was speaking on Wednesday, February 27, at a handing over ceremony for 15 new vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), at the Police Commissioner’s office, in Kingston .
The Minister extended condolence to the family and the community of the two girls who were killed by their father on February 26 in the farming community of Woodgrove, Trelawny.
Reports are that the two sisters, four-year-old Kimocoya, and two-year-old K-alee Mullings, were killed by their father, Kenville, following a dispute with their mother early Tuesday morning. He then committed suicide.
“We can’t turn a blind eye to our neighbour, who is in an escalating situation of domestic violence. We can’t mind our own business. Let them call you nosey, but we have to take an interest in what is happening in our communities,” Mr. Bunting said.
The Minister further noted that there is need for more programmes like the Violence Prevention and Dispute Resolution Association (VPDRA), which was launched in Manchester last year.
Under the pilot project, volunteers are trained as first responders to assist in resolving domestic violence disputes in their communities and to refer these cases to a professional, whether a pastor, police officer or psychologist, if the need arises.
“We will never have enough policemen to be in every single community to respond to every situation that is domestic at its core and escalating. But, we can have hundreds and thousands of citizens across the country trained as first responders to intervene in these situations to refer them to a psychologist, a pastor, a social worker, or the community policing unit, so that we don’t have the tragedy that we had (this week),” he said.
Mr. Bunting said the Ministry will be looking to extend the VPDRA project across other parishes in an effort to reduce domestic violence.