The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has committed to stepping up the fight against domestic violence through collaborations with NGOs and other stakeholders, according to Minister Jennifer Webster.
At a candlelight vigil held at the Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission in Port Mourant, Region Six, Webster said the world is rife with the scars of violence perpetrated at all levels, and more so on women and children.
Domestic violence “has left every fabric of society begging for help as reports of fathers performing violent acts on mothers and children are increasing daily,” she was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).
Webster condemned all acts of violence, while noting that they have far-reaching implications, particularly to women and children who are often the victims and are traumatised for life. “People everywhere today are wondering, what’s the best way to teach peace or non-violence to the world?
The best way is to teach families to be peaceful within their own homes, to settle all arguments and contention before they sleep at night so the children can see that peace can be attained and then maintained through the use of intelligence,” she said. The minister urged parents to be good examples to their children and to teach them to live in a pluralistic world, while noting that people have unique and different behavioural patterns and forms of expressions.
“Victims of violence feel hopeless because of the perceived notion that there is no way out, no help and lack of care from those around them… let not your fists or any other weapon speak for you but rather words of love, compassion and kindness should be foremost,” she told the audience.
Webster lauded the efforts of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission for helping to promote peace and harmony in society. President of the Mission Pandit Suresh Sugrim said the vigil is the first of its kind to be held in the region.
He then condemned abuse against children, women and differently-abled persons. “We will no longer be tolerating in our communities abuse of any kind, we are saying enough is enough…since no child deserves to be hurt but loved,” he said.
GINA noted that several local NGOs and persons from other faiths in Region Six also supported the vigil. Over the past five years, the ministry has implemented a number of initiatives to tackle domestic violence, including the National Domestic Violence Oversight Com-mittee, creation of White Zones, the Wakenaam and Skeldon declarations, and the establishment of the Men and Women’s Affairs Bureaus, while providing technical assistance and referral services such as legal aid to survivors of domestic violence.
The ministry has also expanded the referral services to more areas to meet the needs of women who may not have the financial resources to have their cases heard.