$56M to improve domestic violence services, construct shelters

The PPP/C Administration has earmarked some $56 million to construct two domestic violence night shelters and to support Help and Shelter, to aid women and families fleeing domestic violence.

This is part of the government’s no-tolerance approach to tackling violence in all forms.

“Since taking office, we have focused on numerous interventions to curb gender-based violence in our country which are also aligned with guidelines set out by the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

“While Guyana continues to work towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, efforts will be intensified toward tackling the prevalent social issue of violence against women and girls. We are committed to ensuring that Guyana is safer for all women to live, work and enjoy a good quality of life,” Senior Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh said during the presentation of budget 2023 on Monday.

The two domestic violence shelters are expected to be opened later this year and together the shelters cost $27.3 million. The shelters will provide needed refuge for women and children fleeing from abuse.

The remaining $28.7 million is being expended to support Help and Shelter, to enhance the services available for women and families.

The government has implemented a number of measures that play a significant role in combating domestic violence since returning to office in August 2020. These initiatives include the 914 24-hour hotline and iMatter app for immediate reporting of violence.

The Survivor’s Advocate Programme which is linked directly to the hotline to provide counselling services to victims of abuse, and the COPSQUAD2000 initiative which saw over 1,476 police officers trained to deal with domestic violence-related matters, are other interventions.

In addition, the government’s contribution to support legal aid services increased to $114.9 million in 2022, which saw 7,597 persons benefitting from legal services. Other key initiatives included the opening of a new child advocacy centre in Region Eight, and the launch of a parent manual to promote child development, knowledge, and non-violent methods of discipline.

To this end, an additional $114.9 million was allocated in budget 2023, for the continued government contribution toward legal aid services required by victims.

With these interventions, Guyana has been able to maintain its Tier 1 ranking in the 2022 US State Department’s Human Trafficking Report for the fifth consecutive year.

The PPP/C Administration is committed to maintaining its tier 1 ranking in 2023.

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