Kingston, 25 November 2020 (JIS) - The first of three national shelters being established by the Government for women who are victims of abuse and their children is now operational.
The shelters form part of the Government’s efforts to provide support to women and children impacted by gender-based violence, as well as other forms of abuse.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, made the announcement during a statement in the House of Representatives on November 24, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
“With the budgetary support of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, we have purchased three properties to be transformed into national shelters, and the first property, after significant refurbishing and reconstruction, has been transformed into a safe and comfortable facility to house women who are victims of abuse and their children. We are now open and ready to take our women in who are being abused,” she said.
“The facility will accept clients even while we continue to receive donations to make it more comfortable and build out our programmes to help women to rebuild their lives and get back on their feet,” the Minister added.
Minister Grange said women who need the facilities of the shelter or those who need expert advice should contact the 24-hour hotline at: (876) 553-0372 and (876) 929-2997.
She said the other two properties are in early reconstruction and/or refurbishing stages and will be transformed quickly into safe spaces for women. “One is in the east of the island, and one is in the west of the island,” she noted.
Minister Grange lauded support groups and organisations that have provided assistance to women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence.
“We know that several women stay in abusive relationships, because they are financially dependent on the man. That is why we have made women’s economic independence a special programme we have now introduced as a priority programme,” the Minister said.
Through the programme, she noted, women will be equipped with skills and other resources to run successful businesses and “to be on their feet as independent women”.