Cayman Brac residents should soon feel the benefits of improved domestic violence advisory and support services as a multi-agency drive to enhance resources takes shape.
The effort follows a November 2005 visit to the Brac by Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan when he was told by the people that domestic violence appeared to be on the increase and that there was a distinct lack of services available to those affected, said an RCIPS press release.
Shortly afterward a multi-agency committee was established, spearheaded by the RCIPS Family Support Unit and Community Policing Officer PC Rob Stewart.
Members include representatives from the Probation Unit, Professional Women’s Club, Brac Haven Sister Islands Counselling Centre, Children and Family Services and the Probation Aftercare Centre.
Head of the FSU Inspector Angelique Howell said: ‘We held our first meeting in December to discuss issues affecting the Brac both positively and negatively, including things like the availability of resources, training for those involved in offering support and advice, and community awareness of what help is available.’
Since that first meeting a number of initiatives have taken place, including FSU officers carrying out awareness days in the schools; officer training at the police station; and publicity of the services on offer.
Partnership work between the agencies has increased dramatically, with the FSU now operating as the central distribution point for referrals to these agencies.
Committee members will now meet every three months to assess progress, and set new tasks and goals, the release noted.
At the most recent meeting it was decided that more awareness work should be carried out, particularly in schools. The possibility of opening a shelter for battered women and children should be explored, and targeted training should be offered to interested persons and those who have influence in the community on how to help someone in need.
‘The RCIPS cannot tackle domestic violence issues alone,’ added Inspector Howell. ‘We need the entire population of the Cayman Islands to assist in this fight and to help rid our Islands of this problem.’
The following contacts are available for people wanting information, advice and support:
• Family Support Unit – 949-9185
• Brac Police Station – 948-0331
• Department of Children & Family Services – 948-2331
• Brac Haven Sister Islands Counselling Centre – 948-2354