The Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew and I met this morning specifically to discuss the ways we can immediately tackle the scourge of violence against women in the Federation.
The Parliament, Executive and Judiciary all play a role in this mission. The Cabinet, as leader of the Executive Arm of Government, intends to quickly propose to Parliament that the unnecessary and expensive hurdles in the Domestic Violence Act that restrict or discourage women from seeking restraining orders against violent men (and vice-versa) MUST be removed.
Just last week, Hon. Isalean Phillip and I had a discussion about the status of the Ministry of Social Development’s ongoing review of the Domestic Violence Act. It has faults and we will rectify them after consultation with the Police Force, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Social Development, the Legal Aid Center and the Justice Committee. Every woman (or man) who is the victim of domestic violence in its various forms should have easy and open access to justice and protection.
The Prime Minister has asked me to report to the Federation that fixing the scourge of violence against women is a high priority item on our legislative and administrative agendas. It was a priority before the tragic incident in Nevis yesterday and it will continue to be. Our prayers are with the families of those who died and were injured.
This needs to be a national effort. If you see domestic violence, report it. If you know a friend who needs help, help her. Do your part as well. We have to make this Federation a better place not just for this generation but for the generations to come. We must create a long-lasting domestic violence prevention structure that keeps our mothers, our wives and all our women safe!
FYI, the Domestic Violence Act defines “domestic violence” as any controlling or abusive behaviour that harms the health, safety or well-being of a person or any child and includes but is not limited to the following—
(a) physical abuse or threats of physical abuse;
(b) sexual abuse or threats of sexual abuse;
(c) emotional, verbal or psychological abuse;
(d) economic abuse;
(h) damage to or destruction of property; or
(i) entry into the applicant’s residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same residence;
#recognizeit #reportit #preventit #enddomesticviolence