The proposed unit would fall under the remit of the Crime and Problem Analysis Unit (CPAU) of the TTPS, and would use qualitative and quantitative data to analyse incidents of domestic violence in TT.
Williams was addressing the first public meeting of a Joint Select Committee (JSC) of Parliament on Human Rights, Diversity, the Environment and Sustainable Development, held at the Parliament Tower, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.
Responding to a question from Arima MP Rodger Samuel, about the availability of counselling services to officers and their families, Williams said social workers have been hired specifically to address domestic violence in the personal lives of police officers and that the social workers’ services are provided to both officers and their spouses.
Manager of the TTPS’ Victim and Witness Support Unit Margaret Sampson-Browne, spoke of the need for a more “seamless intervention” by various agencies when the unit receives an emergency call.
“We want a timely, effective and efficient response (from all stakeholders) to someone who comes to us, covered in blood, saying ‘I cannot go back home...I need some help now.’ How do we address that situation when we sometimes have to wait until the morning to get a shelter for the person or have to wait for perhaps 48 hours before they could get a food card,” Sampson-Browne asked.
Director of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Monica Williams, made an appeal for the “continuous” provision of services to persons affected by domestic violence, saying it was “critical” that these not be disrupted by “a shift in governance” of the country.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sandra Jones, told the JSC that “by August” a domestic violence unit would be launched to oversee a National Domestic Violence Registry which would allow the ministry to “collect data from all the different agencies that are actually getting reports on domestic violence...Cabinet has agreed to establish a cross-functional committee with persons from the Judiciary, the police and other key agencies and NGOs that really and truly are overseeing this particular exercise.”