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Nov 2, 2001

Police sensitised to domestic abuse

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Domestic violence, prevention and intervention, is the focus of a two-day workshop for police officers and social workers underway in Belize City. The event, which opened this morning, is being facilitated by the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, CAFRA, along with the Department of Human Development. Co-ordinator Nelcia Robinson says she hopes that the sessions will sensitise police officers to cases of domestic abuse.

Nelcia Robinson, Co-ordinator, CAFRA

“The training is very comprehensive. In fact, it will address how the interviews should take place, how the cases should be reviewed, reported, and taken up to the limit of the law. It involves as well that when the reports by men, in terms of they themselves being victims of domestic abuse, that therefore it needs to be addressed in the same way.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“This training is for mostly police officers and social workers, but do you find that they are the people who tend to downplay the issue of domestic violence, especially as it relates to men and women living under the same roof?”

Nelcia Robinson

“Yes they do. And this is very historic and in a way it’s not so much attaching blame on the police, but to look at the whole socialisation under which men and women have lived in the past years. Where it is seen that this is a husband and wife or partner situation, and that women are in a sort of subservient situation, the way to deal with issues of conflict would be for them to be literally put them in their place, whether the form is physical or psychological or emotional abuse. And therefore, we find that when these reports have been made, that the police have tended not to address them seriously. Because in certain cases where they have actually pursued it as a crime by taking the report, they would find that many women would return and say I want to drop this case, I cannot let my partner go to prison et cetera. And this has sort of deterred them from pursuing it the way they should.”

Participating officers will be taught the techniques needed to deal with abuse cases in a thorough and professional manner.

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