16 days of activism ends with walk to honour femicide victims

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security ended sixteen days of activism on Sunday with a community walk to pay tribute to the victims of femicide.

Femicide is referred to as the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.

Some participants at the walk

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud explained that the government is constantly making the right investment in programmes, facilities, and services to stop femicide in Guyana.

According to Persaud, the ministry works in collaboration with stakeholders to mitigate and stop femicide particularly through the Spotlight Initiative. This model has received the commendation by international partners for its overarching execution of initiatives.

“Signing on to the Spotlight Initiative in 2020, our country’s model has been recognised by our CARICOM partners, by stakeholders and by spotlight itself for its comprehensiveness. We recently added a referral pathway, again hammering home the fact that we need to collectively respond,” Minister Persaud stated.

The government also implemented many other initiatives that have impacted the lives of victims tremendously whether through financial aid, shelters, counselling or legal support.

Minister of Human Services and Social Services, Dr Vindhya Persaud with British High Commissioner to Guyana H.E Jane Miller during the walk

Some key strategies were the 914-hotline and Imatter app that connected victims to trained personnel to aid in navigating through the process.

“The Imatter app will be upgraded to provide a chat feature so even if you cannot make that call, you can type it, you can tell us…The Imatter app provides a chat feature, it provides legal counsel at the end of that chat, and it provides resources all in the palm of your hand”, Minister Persaud disclosed as she highlighted the upgrades and strategies for the coming year.

The minister called upon families of victims to play a more integral role in assisting them to overcome challenges.

“The Ministry of Human Services can never fill the void of family, can never replace the support of loved ones, can never, but we try through the safe vouchers we provide, the shelter services we offer, the survival kits that we provide, the counseling that we try to give,” the human services minister noted.

Some participants at the walk

Additionally, the minister announced that, “The Family Violence Bill will be laying…in parliament early next year and that bill holds people accountable from the police force to those who have responsibilities within the ambit of that bill, it provides accountability…it covers more people than the previous Domestic Violence Bill.”

It was also disclosed that consultations are ongoing for the Harassment Bill.

Meanwhile, the 16 days of activism saw the highlight of the 16 types of violence.

These include Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Financial/Economic Abuse, Child abuse, Human Trafficking, Online or Digital Violence, Emotional and psychological abuse, Verbal abuse, Domestic Abuse, Elder abuse, Discriminatory abuse, Sexual Harassment, Early, Forced or Child marriage, Reproductive coercion, and Neglect and Spiritual abuse.