Kingston, 9 March 2020 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says the Spotlight Initiative Jamaica programme will strengthen the government’s efforts to end violence against women and girls.
Minister Grange was speaking at the ceremonial signing and launch of the Spotlight Initiative Jamaica programme this morning (Monday) at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Programme was launched by Prime Minster, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, who said the elimination of gender-based violence is “a high priority objective for the government of Jamaica.”
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership involving the European Union and the United Nations focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
Minister Grange said:
“I thank the European Union and the United Nations for partnering with us on this Spotlight Initiative… It is a reflection of this government’s determination to build partnerships as we confront the major issues that affect us all. It represents an important partnership for change.”
The Spotlight Initiative in Jamaica will address violence as a public health and development issue, under the banner of family violence, with a focus on three priority areas: child sexual abuse; intimate partner violence; and discrimination against vulnerable groups, including the elderly and members of society with disabilities and special needs.
It will be a three-year programme, costing US$10.6M; and will enhance and support strategic actions being taken by the government of Jamaica to eliminate violence against women, including:
- the establishment of national 24 hour hotlines for victims, including a text line for the deaf;
- legislation to increase protection of vulnerable people such as children and the elderly;
- ongoing sensitisation and awareness-raising among the public;
- the establishment of the Gender Advisory Council which guides the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National Policy for Gender Equality and the National Strategic Plan to Eliminate Gender-based Violence;
- and the implementation of the National Shelter Strategy for victims of intimate partner violence.
Minister Grange said:
“The Spotlight Initiative is not a quick fix or a magic wand, but it is a major part of our response to this crisis that we face in our homes and communities. While [it] will focus largely on women and girls, important efforts will be made to engage men and boys to address the toxic masculinity that is deeply embedded in the society.
There is a certain pervasive idea of masculine identity that is at the root of the high levels of violence, including gender-based violence, in our country.
This idea of masculinity that we teach and enforce causes men to see themselves as strong and women as weak. It makes them feel that they are superior to women and that they can own, control and abuse women.
It is not a good thing and we must eliminate it by changing the ways we choose to raise our boys and our girls.”
The Minister said she looked forward to a “meaningful working relationship over the next three years” with the UN and EU representatives in Jamaica; and thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith for being a “great negotiator” with the multilateral agencies in the development of the Spotlight Initiative Jamaica programme.