Region Three community advocates being trained to identify, report gender-based violence

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on Wednesday took its Community Advocates Network (CAN) programme to the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three), to train some 90 residents in identifying and reporting gender-based violence.

Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud, launched the programme at the Leonora Technical Institute. Persons from communities including Anna Catherina, Crane, Parika, Belle West, and Leonora are participating in the two-day training programme.

Human Services Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud engaging participants of the CAN training programme

Minister Persaud said it is disturbing to see reports of women dying from abuse. She said it is important for the public and agencies to collaborate to end the age-old social issue.

“If we are to target domestic violence in all of its form, we all need to be involved, so the network is exactly that. It’s a partnership among the public, and many stakeholders and ministries. And so, with this type of collaborative effort, I believe we can address the gaps and loopholes that exist,” Minister Persaud related.She urged persons to report any form of abusetheir relatives or other persons might be experiencing.

“We have to educate families. Don’t wait until something happens, someone losing their life, report it, don’t turn a blind eye to your daughter, your daughter-in-law or the males in your family […] it is not okay,” Dr Persaud expressed.

Deputy Commander of Region Three, Khalil Mandall

Meanwhile, Deputy Commander of Region Three, Khalil Mandall said the Guyana Police Force is looking forward to working with the community advocates after their training.

“When you start doing your social work, coming into contact with persons who are abused, whether psychologically, physically, sexually, when you come across those cases, we want you to bring it to the attention of the police immediately because we have some victims who are reluctant to come forward and sometimes, they would need a little encouragement for them to step forward because in most cases, the persons who abuse them are the sole breadwinners,” he noted.

Some 1,200 persons from Regions Two, Five and Ten have already received training to identify and report violence. The number will increase gradually as the ministry trains more advocates in various communities.

Participants undergoing training at the Leonora Technical Institute

CAN is geared at eradicating all forms of gender-based violence by establishing a network of volunteers at the community level who will advocate for identifying and reporting all forms of gender-based violence in communities.

Community advocates will work with the local police officers and the ministry’s toll-free 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline -914 staff to report any form of abuse.

This forms part of a holistic approach by the ministry to rid Guyana of gender-based violence. Programmes including the Survivor Advocate Programme, COPSQUAD, I matter app and the -914 toll-free 24-hour hotline are all geared at annihilating gender-based violence.