Govt drafting comprehensive bill, policies to address violence

The government is currently working on a new bill and policies to further address violence in a comprehensive manner thereby leading to its reduction in society.

This was revealed by Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Vindhya Persaud during her appearance on ‘The Guyana Dialogue’ show recently.

Minister of Human Service and Social Security, Vindhya Persaud

Minister Persaud disclosed that the current Domestic Violence Act will soon be replaced by the Family Violence Act when the bill passes through Parliament.

“This ministry is responsible for gender-based violence, the original piece of legislation, the one that we have now is the domestic violence act. We are working to have this act replaced by the family violence bill,” said the minister.

According to the minister, when the new act is passed, there will be a widened assessment of family members.

She explained that the current Domestic Violence Act deals with personal and spousal violence while this new act is expected to properly approach relations in an extended family.

Meanwhile, along with the new bill in focus, the minister added that two new Hope and Justice Centres are being constructed in Regions Three and Four.

She said that the centre at Region Four is nearing completion.

“This is where someone can go the one place and have access to all the services right there. That is one of our responses to them and their support to them, whether it be reporting counselling, legal services and medical services,” Minister Persaud stated. 

Additional centres are scheduled to be built in Regions One and Seven. The Hope and Justice Centre is a collaborative approach with the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

Additionally, some of the new policies that the government implemented through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to deal with violence in the country include the spotlight initiative which aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

The minister said more policies are being devised to respond to the level of violence that is taking place in homes, schools and generally in society.

The 24-hour 941 hotline which deals with receiving any reports of domestic violence and promptly acts on it. The survivor advocate programme where victims receive direct help from an individual and the COP SQUAD initiative which trains police officers to deal with domestic violence reports, among others.