Safe house needed for female abuse victims
Women who suffer abuse are in dire need of a permanent safe home, according to the outcome of a meeting held this week.
The Women’s Action Group met with members of the public at the Human Rights Commission building on Monday to discuss services for women in abusive relationships in Bermuda.
The Centre Against Abuse, which provides counselling, training and assistance for victims of abuse, formerly had a shelter but it closed three years ago because of lack of funding.
Wag was formed three months ago to champion equality, justice, empowerment and support for women who have been victims of assault or abuse.
Women are also the focus of a walk tomorrow by the Women’s Resource Centre in support of women’s rights in general, including gender parity.
Founding member of Wag Sylvia Hayward-Harris told The Royal Gazette: “The primary issue raised at the Wag meeting was the need for a safe house for women.
“We will be at the Women’s Resource Centre walk on Thursday and hope to give out cards asking for support around our efforts to get a safe house. We really need this.
“Another issue that was raised at our meeting is the fact there is no centralised clearinghouse that we know about that can help women who are looking for assistance. Women need to know where they can turn for whatever help they need.
“Funding is also needed for things like protection orders and associated service fees. These things can be expensive. If you go through Legal Aid, you have to wait a month, during which time you are in danger still. That is another issue that needs to be addressed.
“If you are a woman, if you have women at heart, if you recognise that the services that are available for women appear to be inadequate, then let your voice be heard.”
The Women’s Resource Centre Walk for Change focuses on gender equality and women’s rights rather than concentrating on abuse.
There will be entertainment as well as a keynote speech by Alison Hill, chief executive of The Argus Group.
Those attending or participating are encouraged to wear purple in support of the cause. The walk begins at City Hall at 12.30pm.
A spokeswoman said: “Show your support by joining us for a positive, high energy event on the steps of City Hall followed by a short walk in celebration of women’s rights.”
• For more information about the Women’s Action Group, e-mail Sylvia Hayward-Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/womensactiongroup. To contact the Centre Against Abuse call 292-4366 or e-mail email@example.com. If there are children involved, contact the Department of Child and Family Services. The Women’s Resource Centre focuses on hardships experienced by women in general. Call 295-3882, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wrcbermuda.com
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