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    • The Victim Services Division (VSD) is advising the public that its offices remain open for business, with measures implemented to protect staff and clients against contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • Director of the VSD, Osbourne Bailey, told JIS News that telephone counselling has been ramped up to facilitate clients who might not be able to go into the offices.
    • “Let me say that the integrity of the programme will be in no way compromised by the telephone counselling as we have mechanisms in place to ensure that the quality of the counselling remains,” he noted.

    The Victim Services Division (VSD) is advising the public that its offices remain open for business, with measures implemented to protect staff and clients against contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Director of the VSD, Osbourne Bailey, told JIS News that telephone counselling has been ramped up to facilitate clients who might not be able to go into the offices.

    “Let me say that the integrity of the programme will be in no way compromised by the telephone counselling as we have mechanisms in place to ensure that the quality of the counselling remains,” he noted.

    “Where clients must walk in, we ensure that we provide care while maintaining social distancing in the best way we can. Where clients show signs of being ill, which make it difficult to entertain them in the office, we make contact with the Ministry of Health,” Mr. Bailey added.

    He told JIS News that there has been a reduction in office visits, but members of staff have been proactive in facilitating walk-ins as safely as possible.

    “I give my staff credit. These social workers have ensured that the space is sanitised and are maintaining social distancing. They make sure that they are safe while they are trying to help those in need,” Mr. Bailey said.

    Meanwhile, the VSD Director, who is a counselling psychologist, is encouraging Jamaicans to take care of their mental health while in quarantine, isolation and practising social distance.

    “One of the realities about COVID-19 is to manage the spread. You have to maintain what is called social distancing, and this simply means that we stay away from people as much as is possible for health.

    “However, implicit in that is isolation, which has the potential to impact how people behave. I want the public to be mindful that while it is good for our health, it has the potential of impacting our psycho-emotional state. It can cause a wide range of anxiety and depressive conditions,” Mr. Bailey noted.

    To reduce the potential ill effects of social distancing, he recommends that people remain neighbourly “by saying hello, waving, smiling at people, being courteous and being mindful of others”.

    “If you used to buy two things at the supermarket buy three and give one away. Be kind and neighbourly, be what we can be, not just for ourselves in this difficult time but for someone else. We will get through this,” Mr. Bailey said.

    The VSD, a unit of the Ministry of Justice, provides therapeutic intervention for victims of crime, through its network of 14 parish offices.

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