By Guyana Times Staff
There has been a significant increase in the various forms of abuse over the years – as is evident in news reports.
This conclusion was made recently as Red Thread presented its findings from a two-year project at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus. The project targeted Better Hope/Plaisance, Parfaite Harmonie, Anna Regina, Bartica and Lethem among other areas.
Over the 24-month period, close to 6000 persons were engaged during house-to-house visits and community meetings.
According to statistics garnered from a court report, “Physical abuse was mentioned in 34 per cent of the application forms in 2014. In 2017, it was 48 per cent of the cases coded … Emotional and physiological abuse was mentioned in most of the cases. Verbal abuse and name calling were specifically mentioned in 17 per cent of the applications in 2014. Forty per cent in 2017. More than one form of emotional and physiological abuse was mentioned in 17 per cent of the applications in 2014 and 40 per cent of the applications in 2017”.
The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), based on its study findings, has suggested several measures to be enforced as it seeks to reduce the disappointing situation in the country.
Acting Chief Magistrate Sherdel Marcus-Isaacs, who was on hand as the report was publicly released, noted that one of the important steps that were necessary to decrease the number of abuse cases may very well be the creation of more safe houses for victims and survivors of abuse.
She even recommended more specialised counselling services for children, as she pointed out the shortage of probation and welfare officers to service the courts. “In many instances, there are adjournments, because the probation officer is not ready with the report and that is because that one probation officer is servicing three or four Magistrate’s Courts,” Marcus-Isaacs explained.
Statistics from the project also found that 81 per cent of domestic violence cases were filed by women, 17 per cent by males, and it was unclear who filed the remaining two per cent. On the other hand, when it came to persons subjected to court orders, it found that 83 per cent of men were respondents to the orders and 17 per cent of females.
More specifically, the survey found that between January and May 2018, 333 of the 3067 matters filed in the East Demerara Magisterial District were domestic violence matters; in the Essequibo Magisterial District, 3084 matters were filed with 35 of these being domestic violence matters; in the Georgetown Magisterial District, there were 7972 matters filed with 352 of those domestic violence matters and in Berbice Magisterial District, there were 1947 matters, with 35 domestic violence cases.
The project, launched by Red Thread two years ago, was conceptualised with the intention of changing persons’ attitudes as it relates to domestic violence, to examine the performance of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and courts in dealing with these matters and to draft recommendations for these entities to better develop their capacity.
As a result of the project, 743 victims of domestic and sexual violence were supported.