In answer to a question filed by Independent Senator Gail Merhair, Leader of Government Business Conrad Enill detailed the number of cases of deaths in relation to domestic violence. For the years 2004 to 2008 there were nine, 26, 32, 17 and 36 deaths respectively. In terms of the number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police for the same period, the recorded cases numbered 962, 1,291, 1,250, 1,356 and 1,556 respectively.
Enill who answered the question on behalf of the Ministry of Gender Affairs, also went on to outline the Government’s programme for combating domestic violence. According to Enill these include: the establishment of a multi-disciplinary committee in April 2008 comprising officials from the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Culture and Gender Affairs, Health, the Police Service and the Judiciary.
The committee, Enill noted, is chaired by retired justice of appeal Justice Jean Permanand and is charged with reviewing and monitoring the state’s reports and recommendations on the issue of domestic violence.
Enill also said Government has embarked on the training of police recruits and police officers of the Police Academy and the North East Divisional Unit in relation to the procedures of the Domestic Violence Investigative and Procedural Manual.
Other measures include the issuing of an unspecified quantum in grants and subventions to non- government organisations (NGOs) that deal with issues of domestic violence as well as the setting up of specialised services through the Family Court.
Enill also listed several other initiatives from the establishment of a “drop-in” centre for men and boys at Arima, the upgrade and revamping of the violence hotline on 800-SAVE as well as ongoing sensitisation programmes for the police service.