In a media release the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) calls for an urgent response by all citizens to the prevalence of domestic/intimate partner violence in Trinidad and Tobago.
Emphasising domestic violence is not part of God’s plan, and various faith communities instil the need for neighbourly love, the CCSJ stated passivity must now be replaced by strategies to address and eliminate the issue which “has serious health, social and economic consequences for our society”.
The hope was expressed that in the awaited update to the Domestic Violence Act 45:56, ten legislative and policy amendments as proposed by the Equal Opportunity Commission in November 2017 —including mandatory programmes for victims and perpetrators—will be adopted.
Former National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said in Parliament in June that the Act was being reviewed/amended and an update would be provided by September.
Citing 2017 statistics where 43 of the 52 women murdered were victims of domestic/partner violence (DV), CCSJ offered other strategies which can be adopted:
—Parenting programmes including online programmes that address this issue;
—Developing programmes: nationally, in educational institutions; in the curriculum; and at parish/community level to empower women/men/boys/girls and to address the root causes of domestic violence e.g. the way in which we are socialising our boys and girls;
— Increased co-ordination between Government ministries and non-State agencies;
—Improvements in the criminal justice system;
—Media advocacy aimed at eliminating DV. As UNICEF states, the media “plays a pivotal role in both influencing and changing social norms and behavior”.
Visit CCSJ’s website, rcsocialjusticett.org for the full media release.