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JIS News

Work is advanced on the establishment of the first State-run national shelter to assist women who need to leave abusive environments.

The Government has completed the acquisition of a property that is now being transformed into a suitable facility to accommodate victims of domestic violence.

Speaking at a recent ‘Think Tank’, held at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston, Director, Policy and Research, Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), Sharon Coburn Robinson, said the shelter, which will provide comprehensive support, is large enough to be split into different components.

“So, we can have the transition space that treats with the immediate victim running from an act of violence or abuse or exploitation and discrimination just wanting to be away, so they can actually have a safe period,” she said.

Mrs. Coburn Robinson said persons will be given psycho-social support and training to assist them “to move past the hurt and to get to a point where they can acquire skills if they didn’t have any”.

“So, when persons leave the shelter, they leave equipped, so they are able to move into sustainable livelihoods,” she said, adding that the BGA has created a set of skills that victims would need so as to determine the key stakeholders to do the training.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Coburn Robinson said she is grateful for the support and donations from various entities for the establishment of the shelter, especially from the European Union and the United States Embassy that will go towards replacing some of the furniture at the facility.

She said that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the Japanese Embassy have also promised to provide support for the training of staff and persons using the shelter. Other partners are the Canadian High Commission, UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme.

“We do believe that the support we have gotten is phenomenal, and this speaks to the fact that for Jamaica this is such a big thing – just helping and supporting each other, and that is why we can’t wait to get to that point where everybody gets the message that we are supposed to be supporting each other,” she added.

Mrs. Coburn Robinson said that the shelter should be “up and running” by the end of this year.

“Our target is the end of the year, but if that doesn’t work, then certainly no longer than the first quarter in 2019,” she said.

The establishment of a national shelter is in keeping with the10-year National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence in Jamaica.