Breaking the silence on domestic violence

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─ Reg. 3 seminar for teachers and students

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Region 3, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara’s Department of Education is hosting a two-day Anti-Domestic Violence Workshop. Day one saw teachers being educated and sensitised about domestic violence and its adverse effects.

The theme for the exercise is “Breaking the Silence through Empowerment and Education”.

Delivering opening remarks was Regional Education Officer (REdO), Annesta Douglas who noted that improving the education sector means addressing all issues.

“Sometimes we wonder why a child or even a teacher behaves in a certain way, and little do we know of the complications in their lives. This seminar is not only designed to equip you our teachers with the skills of how to deal with children that may be exposed to domestic violence but also to teach you how to handle situations in your lives and that of your colleagues. I am positive that the effects of this workshop will be felt at the levels of the finished product that we put out into society – a well-rounded and properly oriented child,” remarked REdO Annesta Douglas.

Providing an overview of the seminar was Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer (SG&CO), Priscilla Gonsalves who noted that domestic violence can often be easily ignored and as is so often the case in families, deemed a norm.

“The objectives of the workshop are; to foster and maintain self-confidence and self-worth; to learn coping mechanisms; to learn how to keep one’s self protected and safe; to help develop healthy relationships and live successful lives; to understand one’s rights under the Laws of Guyana; to acquire relevant knowledge of resource groups, agencies in accessing various support services and to advocate against violence within homes, schools and communities,” Gonsalves outlined.

She further noted that from the many visits to schools by Guidance and Counselling Officers, it was recognised that some students are exposed to domestic violence which significantly hampers their level of progress.

The facilitator of the seminar, Prevention and Education Officer at the Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of Social Protection, Deirdre Ifill said that the issue of eradicating domestic violence is an uphill task but reducing it is achievable.

“It is not an easy job to completely remove domestic violence, but we can reduce it. Children and teachers are exposed to it, and it can become detrimental if not addressed properly. Today, we will learn how to interact with students so as to ascertain the situations in their lives, and we will also know how to deal with situations in our lives. Remember, we are all unique and human to face problems: how we deal with it is what defines us.”

The workshop continues tomorrow and will target students and teachers in an interactive session.

Story and Images: Ganesh Mahipaul.