Gov’t implements new programme to assist sexual, domestic violence survivors

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, April 21, 2017

The Ministry of Social Protection’s Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit is providing a new Temporary Assistance Programme for Domestic and Sexual Violence Survivors.

Speaking with the Government Information Agency (GINA) Manager, of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, Ministry of Social Protection, Akilah Dorris explained that the programme goes beyond providing psycho-social support and shelter services for survivors and their dependents.

Dorris noted that the programme is designed to provide financial assistance and temporary accommodation to families affected by sexual and domestic violence.  “The programme is designed for those most in need of assistance; those who have made a conscious and well informed decision to escape their abusive situation, and may not have a place to live or a job to sustain themselves,” Dorris asserted.

Manager, Sexual and Domestic Violence Unit, MOSP, Akilah Dorris

She further emphasised that the Government remains committed to taking a strong leadership position and working in partnership with all stakeholders to increase the response to the domestic and sexual violence, and has allocated significant resources for this programme.

The programme will facilitate the provision of temporary accommodation for a specific period of time; and will focus on the rehabilitation of survivors and their dependents for successful reintegration into society.

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Manager explained that survivors will also benefit from skills training programmes offered under the Board of Industrial Training and the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute, in anticipation of securing jobs through the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency.

The programme is means tested and all survivors will be subjected to a rigorous screening process to shortlist and enroll those most in need, Dorris explained.

The screening process will be conducted by a panel of professionals from the Ministry of Social Protection. However, those survivors who may not qualify for the temporary assistance programme can also utilise additional social programmes offered by the Ministry of Social Protection such as the public assistance programme for single parent mothers.

Dorris urged victims to be bold and speak out against all forms of sexual and domestic violence, and report all cases to any nearby police station.

Dorris highlighted that, “violence could occur at any time; and therefore the first point of contact should be the police station. We know that where you live you may not have a police station in close proximity, therefore it is important for everyone to equip themselves with the numbers of the various police stations and quick response units.”

She emphasised that the police are mandated to treat every case seriously; and follow required protocols; especially when it comes to accompanying the victim to a medical institution to obtain a medical examination certificate.

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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