Ending the cycle

─Domestic Violence seminar emphasises no form of violence is acceptable

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, February 01, 2020

The issue of domestic violence was tackled in a multi-stakeholders seminar on Friday in the East Berbice-Corentyne region.

During the interactive session, the participants addressed various issues including the roles and responsibilities that they can play in lending a helping hand and ensuring the victims are receiving the assistance they need.

Among the representatives from the Judiciary were Chief Justice(ag) Justice Roxanne George, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Hon. Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus. Other participants included magistrates within the Berbice District, members of the Joint Services, NGO’s, faith-based organisations and the Ministry of Social Protection among others.

Chief Justice Roxane George in her presentation reminded that everyone has an equal role to play and that we bear responsibility for those around us.

“It has to start in our homes, in our families, in our communities, and I want to re-emphasize that when we leave here and we return home, we will say in my community I will be the person who will call the police, I will be the person who will go to Social  Protection….. We are our brother’s keepers and that is what we would like emphasise.”

The Chief Justice also spoke of changing social norms that support violence to ensure the culture of violence is not passed down to children. Some of the measures discussed looked at creating safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and their parents and caregivers, reducing availability and misuse of intoxicants and care and support of victims.

Deputy UNICEF Representative Irfan Akhtar applauded the Judiciary for “being on the ground with the other stakeholders” to have a meaningful discussion on the way forward. Noting the lifelong impact domestic violence has on children who are witnesses or victims, Akhtar called for all stakeholder to utilise science and technology to help address the issue from various angles to assist all parties involved.

Meanwhile, Karen De Souza from Red Thread stressed that no form of violence should be acceptable and called for individuals to be sensitive in dealing with such matters as often there tends to be victim-blaming.

In conclusion, the underlying message derived from the workshop was that all the stakeholders must work in tandem with each other to help reduce the prevalence of domestic violence as no one party can do it alone.

The seminar was organised by the Judiciary in collaboration with UNICEF.