Call for more talk on domestic violence
Domestic violence needs to become a bigger part of community conversation, a counsellor said yesterday.
Tina Laws, the founder of coaching company Under Konstruction, explained that everyone can play a part in dealing with the problem.
She said: “One of the things that has to happen in our community is more marketing. We need to talk about it more.
“The more we talk about it and educate people more, the more they will be better informed.”
Ms Laws added: “We have to get that mindset that, you know what, we have to start with us.
“We always say somebody should be doing something; but are we?”
Her comments came as part of a Facebook Live discussion hosted by the Progressive Labour Party's Women's Caucus and moderated by Maxanne Caines.
Ms Laws said: “We have to get rid of that ‘somebody else do it'. And yes, ‘what goes on in our homes stays in our homes', that's embedded in our brains as well — guess what? We need to get rid of that concept and think about, if that was you in your home being battered, if that was you and your children watching you being battered, if that was you and your parents watching you being battered or vice versa, if that was your parents being battered, would you want someone to intervene?
“If you think like that, you'll do more intervening.” She added that residents can call police instead of going to a home where they suspect violence could be taking place.
Laurie Shiell, the executive director at the Centre Against Abuse, told viewers: “Domestic abuse is a human rights issue, it's not a women's issue, it's a human rights issue.
“So it's everyone's issue, so everyone should be involved to eradicate it.”
Tinée Furbert, a PLP MP, said that addressing domestic violence was a “global goal” for women's caucuses and politicians.
She added: “What I would like to see us improve upon is the time at which people are seeking assistance for domestic violence in the courts.”
Ms Furbert said: “When it comes to taking women's or men's domestic violence issues seriously, when it comes to the courts, when someone's coming forward and they're saying ‘I've been harmed, I've been hurt' maybe financially, physically, emotionally, we cannot delay our acting on that.
“I think a lot of times that happens it gives the abuser the opportunity to ... sway the person who's being abused into thinking another way or putting thoughts in their heads.”
The MP added: “Time is so important in helping people to get the assistance that they need through the courts and so I think we need to strengthen that up much more.”
She thanked the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Corbishley, for his comments on Saturday, when he said that anyone at risk of domestic abuse and scared for their safety will not be arrested if they leave their home during curfew hours.
Selena Fields, a PLP Women's Caucus member, said yesterday: “There are people in the community that are aware that persons, particularly women, are being abused and they're not saying anything.”
She added: “We have to be advocates for people that can't help themselves, that are afraid and then if we are in a position that we can offer them any kind of refuge or respite, to be willing to do so.”
The virtual roundtable talk also covered topics related to “the new normal in the face of Covid-19”.
Elaine Butterfield, the executive director of the Women's Resource Centre, said that charities had “never seen so much of a demand” for their services without planning for it until the coronavirus crisis.
She told viewers: “Charities are going to be relying on volunteers to help them to deliver their services so that's a great way for people to give back.
“Even if someone loses their job through this challenge, volunteering for a charity is a great way to keep your skill sets up so we encourage people to reach out to the charities, listen to the updates and the broadcasts and read the news and see exactly what charity is doing what.
“Decide what your passion is, what area you would like to work in, and reach out to them because I can assure you that charities need help right now.”