JIS News

The Justice Ministry’s Victim Services Division (VSD) has expanded its operations by adding e-counselling to its service offerings, as the need to maintain social distancing increases due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

In this regard, the Division has ramped up its current telephone counselling service and introduced the use of audio-visual communication such as video-conferencing and virtual meeting rooms to offer real-time therapy and consultations.

VSD Director, Osbourne Bailey, explained that e-counselling has become a core part of the Division’s operations as it allows for continued provision of care and support to victims of crime in times of crisis.

“While it would be more ideal to have client and counsellor in the same physical space, significant support can be provided within the virtual space. By integrating e-counselling in our operations, we have consistently been able to meet the needs of our clients despite the pandemic,” he said.

He further noted that clients have welcomed the initiative, especially since they can receive counselling and care for themselves or their children from the comfort of their homes.

“Feedback from our clients receiving e-counselling is just as positive as that from clients who received counselling face-to-face. Parents, in particular, are very receptive to this service as some are unable to find the cost for transportation to visit the offices,” he added.

In July, the VSD conducted 795 e-counselling sessions with men, women and children, 287 of which were new clients.

E-counselling is available across the 14 VSD parish offices island wide. For more information contact the VSD at (876) 946-0663 or vsd@moj.gov.jm.

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