Barbados Seeks to Update Domestic Violence Laws

The Caribbean Is One Nation.
                                                                       Barbados Seeks to Update Domestic Violence Laws

Nalita Gajadhar
“Some of the recommended amendments to the Domestic Violence Act will see an expansion of the scope of the protection orders as well as the power given to officers of the Royal Barbados Police force to carry out their duties.”
“The Proposed amendments would speak to how officers record each report and the application of a methodology for getting one of the partners out of the house for a specific period…”
Acting Director of the Bureau of Gender affairs Nalita Gajadar, Nation Newspaper (Barbados) 8/18/14
We welcome the above sentiments and certainly hope that the proposed amendments to the Domestic Violence Act do not languish in somebody’s office for the next decade! We have already seen what has happened to the efforts to have Integrity Legislation.
In recent times, we have witnessed a dangerous increase in domestic violence and it is now very obvious that civil society can longer ignore the monsters that carry out crimes against our women. We daresay that while we have highlighted Barbados on this occasion, it is true to state that domestic violence is rampant throughout our Caribbean region.
The Mahogany Coconut Group has been in the forefront of calling for more progressive legislation and law enforcement tools to deal with this scourge. And to date have published quite a few articles on the subject. We have maintained that the laws were archaic and the society was ignoring the deep wounds such violence caused its victims. There are many misguided talk show hosts and social commentators, who try to attribute such brutality as a part of our culture. The MCG has maintained that abusing our women, children and the elderly was not a part of our culture, but a criminal act executed by dangerous and sick citizens, who needed to be jailed and provided with all the psychiatric help the state or their families can afford.
Our research showed that many women were murdered AFTER the police were called because the police had no authority to remove the perpetrators form the house. And in many cases, our women have refused to file charges and turned to forgiveness of the monsters. Many of them are now resting in cemeteries because they did not realize that such abuse was a sickness and not an act of love or a bad temper. We are also aware that financially challenged women “took the licks” because they wanted their children “to eat”.
Another myth is that domestic abuse is mostly prevalent in low socio economic groups. However we are aware that in the higher echelons of society the scourge exists but privilege and social standing assure that such abuse does not reach the media or the public.  The higher ups suffer in silence.
While we support any attempt to modernize the legislation and make it more effective, we totally disagree that it should seek to get “one of the partners ‘out of the house. We strongly believe that the only party to leave the house should be the perpetrator and not the victim. We wish Ms. Gajadar and the Bureau of Gender Affairs great speed in getting the authorities to move forward with the amendments.

MCG will continue to fight against the abuse of our women, children and the elderly.
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