Gov’t survivor’s advocate, shelter programmes to be expanded

The government is working assiduously to mitigate gender-based violence against women and girls countrywide.

This will see the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s survivors advocate programme and shelters being expanded across the country to improve the response to domestic violence cases.

Night shelter

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud on Monday made the announcement on the sidelines of the government’s $100k special needs fund distribution exercise at Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Center, Georgetown.

“There is the survivor’s advocate programme, here if a person makes a report and follows through all the way to legal recourse, they are assigned to a survivor. We are expanding that so it will be in all of our regions because the programme has worked,” she said.

The survivor’s advocate programme is an essential one implemented to grapple with this growing issue.

As many victims have non-existing support systems, poor kinships, and financial dependency causing them to stay in life-threatening relationships.

To ensure victims who come forward are safe, the ministry trained and employed survivor advocates to provide victims with the support and help needed to overcome their experiences.

Survivor advocates are accessible to persons through the 914 domestic violence hotline and have the responsibility of informing victims of their rights and the services available to them.

As part of the programme, victims will be offered ‘survivor kits’ to get them back on their feet. The kits contain essential items for persons, who may be forced to evacuate their homes because of an abusive relationship.  

Beds at the night shelter

Additionally, the minister also highlighted the need for more shelters for vulnerable persons.

“We are looking as part of our mandate to have more shelters in every region. We are expanding to have more shelters in Regions Two and six and three. So those are coming on board and we are going to be working every year to have more of those shelters.”

Currently, the ministry has several shelters across the country, some of which are state-owned and partnerships.

Recently, the ministry completed major rehabilitative works at its night shelter at East La Penitence, Georgetown, to accommodate even more persons.

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