Gov’t pre­pares to launch plan to tackle gen­der-based violence

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

THE GOV­ERN­MENT will com­mence the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­posed National Strate­gic Ac­tion Plan to Elim­i­nate Gen­der-based Violence in 2017.

Min­is­ter of Cul­ture, Gen­der, En­ter­tain­ment and Sport Olivia Grange made the dis­clo­sure in a mes­sage de­liv­ered by per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the min­istry, Ali­son McLean, dur­ing Sun­day’s church ser­vice to mark In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Violence against Women, held at the Tar­rant Bap­tist Church in St Andrew.

The plan, for which a draft has been com­pleted, is de­signed to pre­vent gen­der-based violence, im­prove the im­ple­men­ta­tion of laws and ser­vices aimed at pro­tect­ing the vic­tims, as well as pro­vide ad­e­quate sup­port ser­vices for sur­vivors.

It also aims to stan­dard­ise pro­to­cols for ef­fec­tive dat­a­col­lec­tion tools in or­der to cap­ture the scope, trends and pat­terns of in­ci­dents to im­prove future plan­ning and pro­gram­ming.

The plan fur­ther em­pha­sises the need for strate­gies aimed at pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble groups such as women and girls, the ma­jor­ity of whom are vic­tims of violence and abuse.

It also seeks to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of un­der­served com­mu­ni­ties as well as per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and other key pop­u­la­tions.

Grange noted that the move to im­ple­ment the plan is in­dica­tive of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s se­ri­ous­ness about tack­ling the is­sue of violence against women and girls, em­pha­sis­ing that “it is high on our agenda”.

She said that the Gov­ern­ment has been proac­tive in en­act­ing sev­eral pieces of leg­is­la­tion to ad­dress the is­sue.

These in­clude the Sex­ual Of­fences Act; Of­fences Against the Per­son Act; Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons (Pre­ven­tion, Sup­pres­sion and Pun­ish­ment) Act; Child Pornog­ra­phy (Pre­ven­tion) Act; Child Care and Pro­tec­tion Act; and the Cy­ber­crimes Act.

SUP­PORT FROM SO­CI­ETY

It is time we un­der­stand that the violence not only has long-last­ing con­se­quences for women, but also their fam­i­lies, the com­mu­nity, and the coun­try at large.

The min­is­ter, how­ever, em­pha­sised the need for civil so­ci­ety to pro­vide sup­port “to en­sure that ev­ery woman and girl is guar­an­teed their rights as hu­man be­ings, which in­cludes pro­tec­tion from violence”.

Po­lice sta­tis­tics for 2014 showed that 2,199 cases of abuse were re­ported, but Grange noted that many other acts of violence went un­re­ported.

She noted that too many mem­bers of so­ci­ety are fo­cused on sham­ing vic­tims into be­liev­ing that their mis­for­tune is their fault and prob­lem, in­stead of em­pow­er­ing them to speak out, stand up to and con­front their at­tack­ers.

“It is time we un­der­stand that the violence not only has lon­glast­ing con­se­quences for women, but also their fam­i­lies, the com­mu­nity, and the coun­try at large. It is at­ti­tudes and out­dated be­liefs that fuel gen­der-based violence. If we treat each other how we want to be treated our­selves, then we will ef­fec­tively tackle this prob­lem,” she added.

In not­ing that violence re­mains a “ma­jor fac­tor of life” for many women glob­ally, Grange said the United Na­tions En­tity for Gen­der Equal­ity and the Em­pow­er­ment of Women (UN Women) es­ti­mates that 35 per cent of fe­males have ei­ther ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal and/or sex­ual in­ti­mate part­ner or non­part­ner abuse.

This, she pointed out, equated to one in ev­ery three women. “We are all vul­ner­a­ble and we each have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to end the violence,” Grange said.

She en­cour­aged mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety to use the In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Violence against Women on Novem­ber 25, and the en­su­ing 16 days of ac­tivism, to “make a stand against violence and the pro­tec­tion of our women and chil­dren”.

Olivia Grange

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