JIS News

Minister of State for National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, said yesterday (Nov. 25), that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be working to rid communities of men who commit violence against women.
“I want to assure you that not only the police high command, but every head of every police station has been sensitised to this problem, and there is a resolve to deal with those cold-blooded and wicked men out there who are perpetrating violence against our women. We are going to take them out of the communities and bring them to justice,” Senator Williams stated, as he addressed a function to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
He informed that measures have already been put in place to address the problem, such as more police patrols around schools, while “covert” actions are being carried out.
In addition, he said the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and the Government have been training the police to understand and take the issue of domestic violence seriously, while the Bureau and other agencies were supporting services that respond to incidents of domestic violence.
According to Senator Williams, “violence against women is a problem of pandemic proportions,” citing a United Nations (UN) report, which shows that at least one out of every three women around the world have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with the abuser usually being someone known to her.
Police statistics show that since January 1, 153 females in Jamaica have been murdered up from 121 for the same period last year and 132 in 2006. There were 714 reports of rape, an increase from the 640 for the same period in 2007 and 630 in 2006. A total of 414 cases of carnal abuse were reported, with 388 in 2007, and 393 in 2006.
“This viciousness against women and cruelty towards women was never always a part of the Jamaican society”, Senator Williams said, noting that women and children were being deliberately set upon by the criminals when their real targets elude them.
Stating that the scourge must be eliminated “if we are to survive as a country and be able to lift up our heads abroad as a civilised people,” he pointed to the need to reshape public policy on the issue, and for a more comprehensive national education campaign to be undertaken.
“We could start at home by teaching our sons to care for, love and respect women, so that they grow into better men. So maybe we should have domestic violence education programmes in our schools, so that we can challenge at the very outset, the view that accepts violence against women as being normal behaviour,” he said.
Senator Williams also pointed to the need for “co-ordinated and community efforts to stop violence against women, and hold offenders accountable for their crimes, and we may even need a dedicated hotline to respond urgently to appeals from victims in distress. We may have to look at putting together a system of shelters, and other social services agencies, to provide support for surviving victims, ensuring that they have a safe place to turn to.”
Yesterday’s function was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs under the theme: ‘Safer Cities and Communities for Women and Girls: Human Rights for All’.
The day marked the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which will include public education as well as gender sensitisation and training sessions. The campaign, which ends on December 10, is being organised by the Bureau of Women’s Affairs in collaboration with other stakeholders.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, is an annual observance of the UN, to emphasise the fact the gender-based violence is a direct violation of human rights.

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