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Story Highlights

  • Over 300 police personnel and front-line responders are to benefit from training to effectively recognise, deal with and respond to victims of rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence.
  • The sensitivity training falls under the Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Project, which is being jointly funded by the British High Commission and the United States Embassy in Kingston at a cost of £21,136.
  • It is being implemented by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the non-governmental organisation - Woman Inc.

Over 300 police personnel and front-line responders are to benefit from training to effectively recognise, deal with and respond to victims of rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

The sensitivity training falls under the Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Project, which is being jointly funded by the British High Commission and the United States Embassy in Kingston at a cost of £21,136.

It is being implemented by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the non-governmental organisation – Woman Inc.

Speaking at the official launch of the project on Monday (April 4) at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, said the initiative is crucial, as approximately 30 per cent of homicides in the island stem from domestic violence.

He noted that while women are the primary victims, a growing number of men are suffering from domestic violence.

Citing statistics from the United Nations Drug and Crime Report, Minister Montague informed that 15 per cent of homicides worldwide stem from domestic violence, while 70 per cent of domestic violence fatalities are women.

He said that despite strengthening legislation and law enforcement initiatives, and the dedicated efforts of many individuals and organisations, the problem persists.  As such, he said, the re-socialisation of many Jamaicans will be a critical component going forward.

“Domestic violence is a truth that lives with many families in Jamaica… many times is not treated as important and persons are told to go back home and work it out,” he lamented.

Mr. Montague said the Ministry will be boosting the fleet of vehicles at the JCF in order to ensure that the police can effectively respond to domestic violence and all other forms of crime in the island.

The Minister said he will also be looking to strengthen the consultative committees at the various police stations across the island. “If the police can’t reach the home where an incident has taken place, a member of the consultative committee could intervene,” he pointed out.

Mr. Montague thanked the British High Commission and the United States Embassy for their contribution.

In his remarks, United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Luis Moreno, said the partnership will assist in creating a safer and more secure society for all Jamaicans and will bolster police-community relations.

For his part, British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency David Fitton, said the collaboration is vital in addressing a worldwide issue, which affects many families.

The training will enable the participants to understand the laws, which address violence against women and other vulnerable groups; be more sensitive to the issues of rape, domestic violence/spousal abuse and intimate partner violence; intervene in a timely manner, enforce the laws and bring the perpetrators to justice; become advocates of peace; and recognise their responsibilities under the Domestic Violence Act.

The project is the continuation of similar work done across Jamaica between 2000 and 2004 to train police personnel to effectively respond to domestic and/or gender-based violence in the country.