Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to launch Survivors Advocacy Programme

—to be piloted in Regions 2,4 and 6

During a virtual press conference on Monday, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud, disclosed her Ministry will be targeting domestic violence in a very focused way and to that end, will be rolling out the Survivors Advocacy Programme.

The initiative will commence within the last quarter of the year. The officers involved in the programme will receive the necessary training.

“They will be trained to offer emotional support and crisis counselling to victims of domestic violence, victims of sexual violence in particular. They will be a support to persons coping with the bureaucratic offices, with all the challenges, they are sometimes overwhelmed,” Minister Persaud explained.

The Minister said essentially the officers/advocates will speak or act on the victim or survivor’s behalf when necessary.

They will be a liaison between that person and the court system, they will work with us [the Ministry] and with the affected person to effect social changes and system changes.”

The Human Services and Social Security Minister said feedback will be provided by the officers  and based on their referrals support will be given to the victim/survivor.

“That simply means, based on the need of the survivor, they will be sent to a shelter. There they will benefit from emotional support as well as training, so hopefully, soon they can be independent and be able to extricate themselves from any problem or violent situation that they were dealing with, “ Minister Persaud said.

The programme will be piloted in Region 2, 4 and 6 since these areas have the highest numbers of reported cases of violence against women.

Minister Persaud also disclosed that her Ministry will be collaborating with the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure there is more training available for police officers to ensure they can properly deal with the public on matters of domestic violence.

She encouraged members of the public to provide feedback on any hiccups or unfair treatment meted out so that they can respond with alacrity.

Minister Persaud noted that domestic violence is an area that requires a lot of training  and measures to be implemented so that the Ministry can receive necessary feedback on “where things are happening, so they would know where they need to be.”

“The programme will be looked at across the country, and those who are affected by violence will have that person [there] to support them.”