Police ranks begin gender-based violence training

Thirty ranks of the Guyana Police Force have commenced a four-day training on gender-based violence.

Themed “Legal literacy and access to justice to end gender-based violence,” the training is spearheaded by Merundoi Incorporated and the Canadian High Commission.

(third from left)- Force Training Officer, Superintendent Shivpersaud Bacchus, Canadian High Commissioner H.E Mark Berman and Executive Director of Merundoi, Ms. Margaret Lawrence along with training officers and ranks.

Force Training Officer, Superintendent Shivpersaud Bacchus said the training is necessary, and in keeping with the Laws of Guyana. He said in 2019, a mandatory module was put in place to cater for the training of ranks in gender-based violence.

“The force continues to urge and instil in its ranks to build capacity at all levels and to ensure that at the end of the day, the allegations of police lacklustre behaviour in response to domestic violence are over,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Investigating and Liaison Officer of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Mr. Kester Harding said one in three women in Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. However, in Guyana, a 2018 survey revealed that one in every two women has experienced some form of violence.

Senior Investigating and Liaison Officer of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Mr. Kester Harding.

The ministry is training 2,000 ranks on how to address issues of domestic violence through its COPSQUAD programme. The aim is to have at least one officer at every police station countrywide receive specialised training.

“We hope that at the end of these training sessions that it would be fruitful and we would be able to move forward in terms of Guyana’s response to gender-based violence in all its forms. It is our collective responsibility to combat gender-based violence because this not only affects the survivor, but it has ramification for national development,” Mr. Harding said.

Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E Mark Berman, said law enforcement capacity building is a key pillar in the fight against gender-based violence.

“You are one of the front-lying defence for victims and their families. Too often violence against women and girls are normalised and goes unpunished. That cannot be allowed to happen.”

Ranks of the Guyana Police Force that will undergo training.

He said approximately 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts during their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic he added, has worsened gender-based violence.

“It is therefore imperative that as partners we continue to work with government and non-governmental organisations such as Merundoi to help eliminate and mitigate the scourge of violence and threats of violence against all,” High Commissioner Berman stated.

Over the four-day period, ranks will undergo training in six modules. These include violence against women, legal framework, laws affecting vulnerable groups, guidance on interacting with victims and survivors, how to document human rights violations and international legal remedies.