By Kaieteur News Staff
Red Thread is slowly moving to establish a systematic and holistic approach to addressing domestic violence in Guyana. The group is currently finalising a report on its two-year project implemented through funding from the US Department of State.
The project titled “Engaging communities for improved implementation of domestic violence laws” engages residents in five communities to provide leadership and transformative action towards adequately addressing domestic violence.
The aim of the project includes generating research that could drive policy and identify areas for training and technical assistance to improve the implementation of the Domestic Violence (DV) Laws. An integral activity of the project was to assess the efficacy of the police and judicial systems in addressing DV case.
Red Thread has so far assessed, organized and mobilized community monitors in the various communities who have been observing police and court practices as it relates to addressing the social scourge.
Addressing a conference at the Education Lecture Theatre (ELT), University of Guyana Campus on Friday, Red Thread Coordinator, Karen DeSouza, told the gathering, which included a wide cross-section of representatives of stakeholder groups that although the research is in its finalized stage, the main challenges remain to help the citizenry understand their role and how to overcome common attitudes towards addressing cases of domestic violence.
According to De Souza, in the course of training the victim blaming and shaming attitude mentality by members of public particularly those involved in law enforcement was the most common challenge.
She noted that Red Thread is continuing its work with the police and judiciary to develop a more effective approach to Domestic violence.
An important part of the research is monitoring the police and courts; and their response to such cases … And what we found is that one person got used to the fact there were monitors, there were more requests for monitors.
Admitting that addressing domestic violence is a gargantuan task, DeSouza noted that hopefully, the project could be seen as a different mould of work, hopefully, one, which is more sustainable.
“This is the last official activity in the project, even with the germ of an action plan; the police force has been very interested in the criticism, which were made and they are looking at how their operations can improve.
Similarly, the judiciary has shown interest in improving and demonstrating their commitment to enforcing the law and improving the situation of Domestic Violence in Guyana.”
Domestic Violence homicide cases are at an alarming proportion in Guyana. The state of affairs requires a multi-stakeholder response.
A number of governmental and non- governmental organisations have joined efforts to address the issue. Most recently, Suresh Sugrim, a representative of the Humanitarian Mission Inc., an overseas-based charity called on the Government to up the ante in providing safe houses for, which victims of domestic violence can find refuge.
Through the charity, Sugrim has been working in Guyana since 2005, conducted outreaches, particularly in Berbice, where donors build houses for families in need.