By anguillian October 11, 2013 09:42



Officials from the Governor's Office, the Anguilla Government, the Workshop Facilitator and Participants at La Vue

Officials from the Governor’s Office, the Anguilla Government, the Workshop Facilitator and Participants at La Vue

As a result of an apparent spate of growing domestic violence in Anguilla, and the drafting of legislation to address the problem, officers of the Royal Anguilla Police Force began a five-week Train-the-Trainers Workshop at La Vue Boutique Hotel and Conference Centre on Monday, October 7.

Initially, five Police Officers are being trained and they, in turn, will train other colleagues in order to build institutional capacity within the Force to deal with the situation.The officers now being trained are Inspector Marva Brooks, Sergeant Crispin Gumbs, Sergeant Vydia Harrigan-Charles, WPC Bernadette Carbon and PC Shem Wills. The workshop facilitator is Mr Pieter Cronje, an independent consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Dr Bonnie Richardson-Lake, who chaired the opening ceremony, said the workshop was made possible through the joint efforts of the Gender Working Group; the Governor’s Office; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Government of Anguilla and the Royal Anguilla Police Force.

She said the workshop was extremely timely as legislation was currently being drafted to address all forms of violence against women. She observed that the Royal Anguilla Police Force had a key role in enforcing the legislation and therefore must be equipped with the knowledge and skills that would enable its officers to do so.

Minister of Home Affairs, Jerome Roberts, said the workshop underscored the importance of efforts to have the Domestic Violence Bill enacted in Anguilla. He hoped that the legislation would be enacted in the House of Assembly in the not-too-distant future.

Commissioner of Police, Rudolph Proctor, said the gender-based violence training was for all frontline officers and supervisors in the Police Force. “The training will expose all our officers to various techniques and skills,” he told the gathering. “It will give the Force the capacity to deal more efficiently and effectively with gender-based issues and to support the victims of domestic violence. Today, domestic violence matters are under-reported in this territory and we have to reverse that trend. The training is timely and relevant. It will help the Royal Anguilla Police Force in fulfilling its mandate under the new Domestic Violence legislation when it comes into effect.”

An overview of the workshop was given by the facilitator, Mr Cronje. He outlined three segments of the training: teaching the officers about violence against women and children and how the police can respond; how to investigate complaints and to deal with victims and perpetrators; and how to work with other local agencies with respect to violence against women and children. Mr Cronje has trained police officers, prosecutors, prison staff, government officials, military staff and NGO personnel in various parts of the world.

The feature address was delivered by Governor Christina Scott who said that, according to UN Women Caribbean, violence against women was increasing in the Caribbean. She recalled that a human rights expert, who came to Anguilla in 2012, was of the view that domestic violence was a serious issue on the island and that he highlighted the need for specialist training, resulting in the current workshop.

“The records of the Anguilla Police Force show that in the last three years, between 2010 and October 2013, there were 735 reported incidents of domestic violence here,” she reported. “That is possibly one incident for every 20 people in Anguilla over that time period. That’s a harrowing statistic, to my mind, and something that the Anguilla society cannot and should not ignore.”
The Governor continued: “Today is an important day for the Anguilla Police Force and for Anguilla. It is important for the police because they must be provided with the tools they need to tackle domestic violence in all forms – to investigate those crimes and to provide support to the victims. It is vital for Anguilla because domestic violence devastates families. It inflicts physical – and perhaps more importantly – psychological and emotional harm; and it undermines all of those things which should be protected and valued in loving relationships.

“For those who are currently suffering from domestic violence, I hope that the knowledge that our Police Force has been trained to deal with these cases – the sensitivity and the passion – will help them come forward and report these crimes. For these reasons the British Government is supporting the training through the FCO’s Human Rights Democracy Fund.”

By anguillian October 11, 2013 09:42


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