Kingston, 6 November 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has outlined initiatives being undertaken by her Ministry as part of the government’s programme to eliminate violence against women and children.
Minister Grange said that although there have been fewer attacks on women and children this year over last year, she was concerned about the violence which she described as “heartless, callous, horrific and brutal."
In her statement to the House of Representatives today (Tuesday), Minister Grange said she was leading a team at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport “to find solutions and to end the violence.”
Minister Grange said:
“Through the Bureau of Gender Affairs, we have developed and championed the National Strategic Action Plan for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence. We have begun to implement this 10-year plan that presents an action-focused approach across all of government to eliminating all gender-based violence.”
The National Strategic Action Plan for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence provides for an integrated, multi-sectoral and structured approach to addressing the key issues and challenges. It is a blueprint for action to identify, coordinate and prioritise the most effective forms of action in the short, medium and long term.
Among the priority actions identified is a review of laws to protect victims, provide redress, prevent violence and punish perpetrators. “We need stronger laws to deal with gender-based violence,” declared Minister Grange. Adding that “for this reason, we reconvened the Joint-Select Committee to review laws relating to violence against women, children, the elderly, and persons living with disabilities. We heard submissions from various quarters and we have given earnest consideration to all the arguments.”
The Minister said the report and recommendations of the Committee will be tabled in the House by month end.
Regarding legislation to deal with Sexual Harassment, Minister Grange said the government was finalising proposals for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Bill which will be brought to the House very soon.
The Ministry is also moving to provide access to critical services to victims of gender-based violence. Minister Grange said:
“We are advanced in the establishment of the first state-run National Shelter to assist women who need to leave abusive environments. In the last few months, we completed the acquisition of the property and we are transforming it into a centre to accommodate survivors of gender-based violence and their children. It will also offer basic necessities, counselling and other forms of support.”
Additionally, the Ministry will be ramping up its intervention in communities with high levels of violence. Minister Grange said the Bureau will use the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 (and the 16 days of activism that follow) to “undertake significant outreach activities in communities.” This intervention will be supported by a new public education campaign dubbed ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ to raise awareness about the forms and impact of gender-based violence.
Minister Grange said:
“The No Excuse for Abuse campaign will take the anti-violence message to communities across the country. We will empower women and men; confront old notions about a woman’s place; and encourage behaviour change among women and men.”
Minister Grange said that “tackling violence in our country, particularly against our women and children — those who are the most vulnerable among us — requires the participation of everyone.” She said the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport was “doing the work” as part of the national response to this horrific crime.