Mrs. Siti Oussein, Deputy Director, United Nations Population Fund Sub Regional Office
Superintendent Gladys Brown, Superintendent of Police, CISOCA
Detective Sergeant Kirk James
Dr. Sheryl-Mae Burke, Medical Officer and Trainer of Sexual Assault
Mrs. Faith Webster, Executive Director, Bureau of Women’s Affairs
Gender based violence and sexual assault of our women and girls and increasingly of our boys continue to be a scourge in the society.
The Government of Jamaica is committed to the eradication of gender based violence and has sought to put various initiatives and policies in place to address the problem.
One such initiative is to seek to train and equip various frontline workers and stakeholders to sensitivly and effectively handle gender based violence cases, and in particular sexual assault.
It is critical that victims of sexual abuse are not only courteously and sensitively dealt with but that their cases are handled in an efficient and timely manner as they come face to face in accessing justice.
Some of you may be aware of a Working Committee on Gender Based Violence of which I am Chair which was established last November after the rape of five women in Erwin, St. James.
This Committee was set up to see how strategic alliances could be formed and to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to addressing gender based violence.
The Committee represented by various stakeholders is also currently reviewing the Draft National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender Based Violence.
The Committee working with the draft Draft Plan of Action identifies several priority areas, one of which is Prevention.
We believe that the issue of Public Education and Awareness are critical elements if we are to prevent and to curtail the levels of gender based violence in the society.
Specifically, in terms of prevention, the training of medical practitioners and health professionals is very important to help us identify victims
I am pleased therefore to see that in December of last year that for two (2) days a Workshop on Gender Based Violence on the Management of Sexual Assault Cases was conducted and that approximately 45 health professionals from the main government hospitals across the island participated in this training.
I also must add too that further training in this area is soon to take place scheduled for October with another cohort of health professionals from other parishes on the management of sexual abuse cases.
These workshops will again be funded by the UNFPA and will be organized collaboratively with the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and CISOCA.
In closing, I must say that today is a happy occasion for me and I am sure for all of us as it brings us one step closer towards tackling the issue of gender based violence.
The donation of these refrigerators by UNFPA will go a far way in contributing to the work of CISOCA and in assisting them in the preservation of critical evidence and to carry out the necessary forensic analysis of sexual assault cases.
We are also pleased with the partnership which we were able to broker through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, with the UNFPA, the Ministry of Justice and CISOCA under the Ministry of National Security to host these trainings, and which in dialogue, revealed the need for these well needed refrigerators.
Let me use this opportunity to say a warm thank you to the UNFPA for their every ready support work in the area of sexual and reproductive health and gender based violence.
We can’t thank you enough for funding the Management of Sexual Assault Workshops for Health Professionals and for the valuable contribution of these three (3) refrigerators.
Thanks again to all who contributed to the success of the workshops and for making this event today possible.
I thank you.
September 11, 2013