Domestic Violence addressed at local workshop

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 9            March 7, 2002

Features: Search Issues | Read Back Issues | Subscriptions | Merchandise Ordering Information

Participants of Domestic Violence Intervention Training

A two-day Domestic Violence Intervention Training seminar for police officers, social workers and concerned community members was held last Wednesday and Thursday at the SunBreeze Hotel conference room. Participating were 12 police officers from each of the caye's police departments, council members, the health care industry and other significant educators, counselors and community members of Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Punta Gorda.

    The main focus of the two-day training was to make everyone aware that domestic violence is a crime and needs to be fought on all fronts. The creation of a manual for the course and the training itself were the first steps. It was stressed that police and other "front line workers" need to be able to respond to situations of domestic violence appropriately. Further stated was, "effective intervention will lead to a gradual reduction in domestic violence" and in turn alleviate some of the pain of its victims. The following subjects were covered in the seminar: gender awareness, profile of a batterer, cycle of violence, the cost of domestic violence, victim friendly responses, why women stay in abusive relationships, masculinity, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Families and Children's Act.

    Interviewing Inspector Linden Flowers, he explained the program as "very beneficial" for his officers. He stated one of the main lessons learned was that no matter if a person had been the victim of domestic violence once or several times, they need to be treated as though it were their first incident. The Inspector was impressed by the many individual ways victims react to domestic violence and the number of possible techniques used when interviewing victims, based on their reactions. Those attending were sensitized to the reasons individuals, especially women, remain in abusive relationships, namely because of a lack of self-esteem, financial need, or threats of physical violence to the individual or their children if they leave. Inspector Flowers also mentioned how domestic violence affects the community as a whole, not only the family members involved, but also their relatives, friends and neighbors. The cost associated with domestic violence was another interesting subject that surprised many and how this money could be better spent benefiting the family. These costs involved everything from legal fees and police time to time missed from work and the charges one must pay to the hospital or clinic if physical abuse is involved. 

    Gloria Guerrero attended as a concerned member of the community, and stated it was "a very good seminar" but hoped more people would have attended. "It is surprising to know that some residents are not aware of the amount of domestic violence in their own community," Mrs. Guerrero commented. She thought the presentation was very informative and worthwhile. Mrs. Guerrero further stated how impressed she was at the presentation given by Sergeant Robinson and also by the number of local police officers present.

    Project workshops have been conducted throughout the districts of Belize aimed at improving the capacity of all "front line" workers to understand and assist victims of domestic violence. The domestic violence training project is being undertaken by the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). Belize Project Coordinator Katherine Mendez of CAFRA was assisted by Police Coordinator Rudolph Orio. Ms. Mendez commented that San Pedro was very welcoming and that attendees made her feel "right at home." She was impressed by those present for the training and commented, "It is good to see the people in charge take an active interest in educating themselves and the people working with them."

    Presenters for the training were Sergeant Viannie Robinson and Corporal Faye Usher who underwent previous training in domestic violence. CAFRA is committed to understanding the relationship between the oppression of women and other forms of oppression in society. Working actively to make a change, CAFRA training is conducted in four languages in the Caribbean: French, Spanish, Dutch and English. Funding for the project was provided by the CAFRA Secretariat, the Police Department, the Ministry of Women, Children and Civil Society, PAHO, UNICEF and members of the community.
Search go!
| | Island Info | Community | History | Visitor Center |
Belize News | | Messages |

Copyright © San Pedro Sun. Design by Casado Internet Group

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize News