The Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) group is currently working with eight families which consist of surviving children of domestic homicide parents with the hope of providing needed assistance.
Director of CADVA Dianne Madray announced the new project yesterday during a press conference held at the Pegasus Hotel. “The seldom seen side of domestic homicide that is never highlighted and needs to be addressed and placed at the forefront is the survival of the children left behind,” Madray said.
So far, she said, the group has managed to reach out to some of these children, who are between the ages of 15 months and 21 years old. According to Madray, “those children have become the silent victims who have been exposed to the domestic violence that likely preceded the murder.” She said, “They have either seen the actual events of physical abuse, heard the threats and sounds of loud arguing and fighting… and observed the aftermath of physical abuse such as blood, bruises, tears, torn clothing, broken items and even death of a parent…”
The CADVA Director stated, “We must continue to educate and sensitise our communities and the Guyana Police Force that domestic violence is a crime and it becomes even more dangerous when we see actions of stronger consequences imposed in domestic homicide cases.”
CADVA has collaborated with Region 3 Ambassador for the Miss Guyana World Pageant 2016 Marva Langevine on the project, which will focus on creating a holistic approach to assisting children affected by domestic homicide and bereavement, who are considered “silent victims.”
The main objective of the project is to bring these cases across Guyana to the forefront and provide the necessary assistance.
The group is also working towards creating a missing persons’ database by the end of this year. “Currently we are accumulating the data to determine the potential numbers of surviving children, which is difficult because records on domestic homicide do not specify children were involved.
It appears that there is limited information on what happens to these children after their parent died,” Madray said.
CADVA, she noted is currently working with the Child Care and Protection Agency to coordinate services for these children and their caregivers. Among these is the son of Babita Sarjou.
The then 28-year-old Sarjou had left her Timehri home on the eve of Diwali, November 4, 2010, having informed her family that after work she was going to view the annual motorcade with her estranged husband and four-year-old son.
She had promised that she would have been back home at around 9 that night. Relatives never saw or heard from her again.
Skeletal remains suspected to be hers was unearthed at the residence of her estranged husband in Campbellville, Georgetown on May 22. Sarjou’s relatives positively identified a pair of slippers, Indian attire and underwear that was found with the remains as her belongings and samples were taken for DNA testing.
Her ex-husband, Anand Narine, and another man, Darrol Compton, called ‘Yankee,’ have since been charged with the crime and remanded to prison.
Meanwhile, the success in moving justice closer in the Sarjou case has raised the group’s hopes that another six-year-old cold case could also be solved.
As such, Madray along with local coordinator Tiffany Jackson will be lobbying the Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for the reopening the Sheema Mangar case.
Mangar was robbed of her mobile phone during September 2010. She chased the perpetrator, who jumped into a car and ran her down when she tried to stop him from fleeing. The car dragged the bank employee from the Bedford Methodist Church at Camp Street and North Road to the intersection of Camp and Church streets and she died while receiving medical attention at St Joseph Mercy Hospital the following day.
No one has been charged with the crime. Several letters were written by Mangar’s mother, Radica Takoor to various authorities, including the present Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan. There was allegedly no response to any of the letters.