Say NO To Domestic Violence In Nevis
October 22, 2008
The community must find a way to ensure that it nurtured a culture of open communication, of tolerance for different shades of opinion and one in which people were seen as equal. That was the sentiment of Minister of Social Affairs Hon. Hensley Daniel when he spoke to front line workers on October 22, at a sensitisation workshop to address issues of violence against women on Nevis.
The workshop funded by MATCH International Canada is hosted by the Change Center on Nevis in collaboration with the Women Development Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The two day workshop which commenced on October 21 was the first in a six part series entitled: “Sensitisation of front line workers on violence against women on the island of Nevis”. It will conclude in April 2009. The series is intended to address a critical issue and to explore ways in which the risk of violence and abuse could be prevented, minimised and treated.
The Minister, who was also a former Director of Social Services on Nevis, said the workshop was critical to the orderly development of the island and pointed to the cost associated with domestic violence.
Given the global financial issues Mr. Daniel said the need existed for investigations into the root of anti social behaviour which had caused ever greater financial challenges for all the islands of the Caribbean and by extension Nevis.
The Minister urged the participants to speak of the realities at the community level so that people understood that domestic violence had created additional pressures on the island’s limited financial resources.
Mr. Daniel also called on the participants to find a way to build a connection with the community so that people would feel at ease to report to them and maintain a high level of confidentiality.
He said too, there was the need for evidenced based programming which would provide a platform for specific targeted intervention. The Minister contended that it would allow government to address critical issues on the island and said the Administration would welcome UWI’s assistance in that area.
Meantime, Coordinator of the Gender Division Mrs. Salome James said the workshop was necessary for frontline workers to do what was necessary to curb the state of violence against women. She said it was important to spread the word around that violence against women had to cease.
Dr. Judith Soares, Tutor/Coordinator of the Women and Development Unit of the UWI said the workshops were part of a continuing relationship with the women of Nevis through the Change Centre.
She said the Center with its history of social work, worked with women who had been violated and abused by their male partners. The Centre had provided for them alternatives in social life and social living so that the women could exist in an independent way.