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Domestic abuse: rise in protection requests

The Centre Against Abuse is noting an “extreme increase” in requests for protection orders and warning letters.

But pleas for safe housing assistance have been in “drastic decline” over the past three years, according to executive director Laurie Shiell.

Ms Shiell, who renewed her plea for the community to help to shed light on domestic abuse at the Hamilton Rotary Club on Tuesday, said the trend was in part due to a population shift and partly because of greater awareness and education.

“The trend in the last three years has seen a drastic decline in requests for safe housing assistance and we have seen an extreme increase in requests for protection orders and summary offence letters,” Ms Shiell said. “Already this year we have assisted 16 of our clients with obtaining protection orders.”

Last year, the CAA assisted about 140 clients, ten of which were men. In addition to providing counselling and education, CAA helped 19 clients to obtain domestic violence protection orders and 30 summary offence letters, which inform a perpetrator that their actions should stop immediately otherwise an application will be made to the courts.

Safe housing was given to three clients and one client was resettled overseas with the help of the US Consul's office.

In 2014, there were five requests for protection orders and nine for summary offence letters and in 2013, there were nine requests for protection orders and 20 for summary offence letters.

Ms Shiell told The Royal Gazette that the decline in requests for safe housing assistance was partly because the number of non-Bermudians, who traditionally made the requests, had dropped. Greater awareness and education has also led to more people opting for protection orders, she explained.

According to Ms Shiell, protection orders, which are issued by the courts with attached conditions — such as no contact or no approach — enable those suffering from abuse to stay at home, where they do not have to worry about being uprooted and or having to start from scratch.

The CAA is the island's only specialist organisation that provides support to adult survivors of domestic abuse. It also offers education sessions to companies, schools and community groups to bring awareness to the problem, rid it of its taboo status and “to expose the secret in a supportive way”.

For more information, e-mail info@centre againstabuse.bm or call 292-4366

Help and support: Laurie Shiell, the executive director of domestic abuse charity the Centre Against Abuse

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Published June 17, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 17, 2016 at 8:04 am)

Domestic abuse: rise in protection requests

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