Amid stay-home policy | MoSP shares safeguard measures for domestic violence victims

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, April 9, 2020.

The Ministry of Social Protection is urging domestic abuse victims to adopt several measures to safeguard themselves during the COVID-19 stay home policy.

They include contacting the helpline or telephone counselling service, maintaining social contact online or over the phone, and sticking to daily routines.

MS.-Akeila-Doris

Manager of the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, within the Ministry of Social Protection, Akeila Doris

Manager of the ministry’s Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, Akilah Dorris says it is normal for victims to feel isolated from their family, friends, and coworkers when confined to their home. She adds that the COVID-19 measures may also cause uncertainty and be overwhelming for many who face abuse.

Dorris is encouraging victims to be mindful of their health and wellness. In case of an emergency, they should contact the nearest police station, or seek immediate medical attention from their local health facility if injured.

If unable to do so, the victim should alert a neighbour, friend, family or co-worker who may be nearby.

Dorris says that it is essential that victims create a personalised safety plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after they leave.

She adds that they could receive help to create a safety plan through the Unit’s 24-hour helpline (640-1011).

“In cases of limited shelter availability due to COVID-19, victims should consider alternatives such as staying with family or friends or staying in motels. Victims should be extra mindful of good hygiene practices if they’re leaving as well, and adhering to universal precautions such as washing hands regularly, avoid touching face, minimising contact with surfaces that other people have had contact with,” she said.

The Unit has collaborated with the United Nations Population Fund and the WHO/PAHO to compile the document which they are using in the domestic violence response measures to the COVID-19 epidemic.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.