Social Protection Ministry signs protocol for prevention of sexual violence

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 08, 2016

The National Task Force for the Prevention of Sexual Violence will soon be revived to better address the scourge of domestic violence. The Ministers of Social Protection, Public Security, Public Health and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs signed on to the protocol to have the Task Force operational.

Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence and Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, signing the National Task Force for the Prevention of Sexual Violence protocol at Parliament Building

The event took place today at Parliament in the presence of Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Dionne McCammon and staff from the Social Protection Ministry.

Minister Lawrence said domestic violence that currently prevails in the society is one which has caught the attention of the Ministers and work will commence towards the eradication of this scourge.

“The Sexual Offences Act of 2010 prescribed that there be a national task force for the prevention of sexual violence and that task force will be chaired by the Minister of Social Protection, and the task force is comprised of Ministers of Legal Affairs, Public Security, Social Protection, Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Education, Public Health and Local Government,” the Minister explained.

Ministers of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, Public Health, Dr. George Norton, Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, along with Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Dionne McCammon (left) and staff from the Social Protection Ministry

Minister Allicock said the task force has been a long awaited necessity and will give justice to victims of domestic violence especially in the hinterland communities.

The Minister explained that generally in the hinterland, the Indigenous people who have been abused for too long were not given justice. Therefore, with this initiative women and teenagers will have an opportunity to have more security in the future.

“I see this as very useful and we’re going to make good use of it; I’m very happy that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is a part of the process because we are in the hinterland, and we need more education to understand the laws,” Minister Allicock explained.

Meanwhile, Minister Norton said the initiative will better inform medical practitioners.

“The fact that we have this document at our disposal, is a good guide that the medical practitioners will use, and it will also remind them about their duties. Personally I think, actions are not taken because we are not properly informed as medical practitioners of our duties, but this document will correct that,” Minister Norton explained.

Manager of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, Akeelo Doris said the unit which was officially launched at the beginning of October, is geared towards developing policies for the eradication of all forms of violence.

Doris pointed out that the unit has been working closely with its partners to brainstorm ways and ideas to tackle domestic violence from the root. “Collaboration is key to address this phenomenon, and we plan to increase our sensitisation and awareness efforts countrywide. We recognise that Guyana does not know that there is a unit specifically developed to tackle this issue so we have a lot of information and we need info from our partners out there.”

By Ranetta LaFleur

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