Gov’t tackling sexual violence through sensitisation

Hundreds of Guyanese countrywide were sensitised on sexual offences and reporting mechanisms to mitigate the social ill, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

This year’s campaign is themed, Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity,” and highlights the importance of addressing sexual violence in a way that recognises and addresses systemic inequalities.

The two-day campaign was spearheaded by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s -Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Community Advocates Network (CAN).

Sexual violence sensitisation exercise

The event was rolled out in Coconut Walk, La Belle Alliance, Richmond Scheme, Versailles Health Centre, New Amsterdam Market, Bartica Market, Rockstone, Albouystown Health Centre, Belle West Multipurpose Hall, Vreed-en-Hoop Market, Bath Market, Anna Regina Market, Port Mourant Market, Daag Point, and Amelia’s Ward.

The government recognises that community sensitisation exercises are an important part of addressing sexual violence in society.

Sexual violence sensitisation exercise

And thus, it provides a platform for people to learn about the issue and to discuss ways in which they can contribute to preventing sexual violence in their communities.

The initiative also serves as a reminder that sexual violence is not something that should be swept under the rug, rather a problem that must be confronted head-on.

As such the government has conceptualised a number of essential programmes and initiatives to grapple with this growing issue including the 914-toll-free hotline, survivor advocates, and the COPSQUAD 2000 initiative.

Sexual violence sensitisation exercise

The 24-hour helpline was created to propel Guyana into reporting mode and enable persons to report acts of abuse in confidentiality.

Once utilised, vulnerable persons will be linked to a survivor advocate who has the responsibility of informing victims of their rights and the services available to them.

Free legal aid is also provided to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.

Additionally, persons were taught of their rights under the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, a critical tool for protecting individuals from sexual violence.

The government believes that sexual violence is not just an individual problem but a societal one.