Domestic violence severe in Barbados

(Barbados Nation) Domestic violence in Barbados has reached national proportion, according to Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steven Blackett.

He says Government is attempting to deal with the “scourge” which statistics from the Royal Barbados Police Force indicate accounted for 21 per cent of murders between 2000 and 2007.

Speaking at a reception marking the second anniversary of the Services Alliance for Violent Encounters Foundation (SAVE) at the British High Commissioner Paul Brummell’s official residence on Monday night, Blackett said a holistic approach was needed to eradicate the root of the problem,“which is often fed by poverty, dependency, lack of education or capacity and the absence of empowerment”.“

The Government of Barbados is only too well aware of the major obstacle to national development posed by the cumulative effects of domestic violence on households, communities and the country at large,” Blackett said, as he outlined the ministry’s plans for a household intervention programme intended to reduce inter-generational poverty.

United Nations resident co-ordinator Michelle Giles-McDonnough said recent studies suggested that the Caribbean had among the highest reported rates of sexual assault in the world, with research conducted here indicating 30 per cent of adult women experience physical abuse in intimate relationships.

In statistics published by SAVE, women accounted for 91 per cent of victims/survivors of domestic violence while there was an incidence of nine per cent of male victims at the end of 2009.

“Freedom from violence is now understood to be a human right to which women are entitled and that the state has an obligation to guarantee,” McDonnough said.

The SAVE Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Liesel Daisley to address domestic violence, and provides counselling services and legal advice to victims, while waging a sustained campaign to bring attention to the problem.

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