The Victim Services Division (VSD) in the Ministry of Justice continues to provide much-needed psychosocial support to victims of crime in Jamaica, through its e-counselling facility.
E-counselling was introduced as a way to continue to reach victims in light of the restrictions on face-to-face contact due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Of the 823 clients seen by the VSD in August, 576 benefited from e-counselling services.
Director of the VSD, Osbourne Bailey, told JIS News that e-counselling allows for greater flexibility in scheduling.
“It allows for us to keep our clients safer regarding COVID-19 and it allows for the client to feel comfortable in their own space,” he added, noting that the necessary precautions are taken to protect the clients while they are online.
He said that members of staff were trained well in advance of the introduction of e-counselling in techniques and mechanisms to ensure that the quality of the services provided remains high.
“We still maintain our feedback mechanism where a client… can still complete the feedback form to tell us how they feel about the services,” he noted.
Mr. Bailey told JIS News that emphasis is being placed on victims who are most vulnerable at this time.
“We have taken a decision that children and vulnerable victims, including women and people with disabilities, victims of sex crimes, intimate partner violence victims and trafficking victims, that we will ensure that every single one of them that comes to our attention, that we will continue to provide them with premium services,” he noted.
“We understand the trauma related to all crimes but more so for these persons at this time,” he added.