Dealing with domestic violence

Domestic violence is a serious crime, which is never acceptable, and should be treated as seriously as any other crime. Consequently, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has adopted a zero tolerance approach towards domestic violence.

Definition:

Domestic violence is not a specific statutory offence but is a term used to describe a range of criminal offences. There are many definitions of domestic violence. The RCIPS adopts the following definition:

‘Domestic violence is the physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse of one person by another who is in or has been in a personal relationship with them. The relationship may be between partners or ex-partners or other family members.’

Children, who are either present at or hear incidents of domestic violence can also suffer direct or indirect harm. Domestic violence occurs regardless of the victim’s class, religion, sexual orientation and is experienced by both women and men.

Abuse can be:

In the definition the words physical, sexual, emotional or financial are used. Here are some examples of what can arise from these abuses.

Physical

The partner may:

• Push or shove their partner

• Kick or slap their partner

• Punch or throw their partner

• Lock up their partner somewhere

• Choke their partner

• Attack their partner with a weapon

• Do anything that can or does physically harm to their partner.

Sexual

The partner may:

• Say anything that makes their partner feel bad about him/her self image or body

• Sexually insults their partner

• Make sexual advances toward other people

• Makes their partner perform sexual acts that he/she is not comfortable performing.

Emotional

The partner may:

• Put down

• Ignore

• Swear

• Act jealous

• Isolation from family and friends

• Not allowed to work outside the home

• Keep track of what you are doing

• Threaten to hurt children or take them away

• Refuse money

• Threaten with violence

• Do anything that may hurt their partner emotionally.

Financial

The partner may:

• Refuse to work or share money

• Prevent their partner from working or going to school

• On the job harassment

• Control their partner’s money

• Make all the financial decisions in the household

• Take money away from their partner

• Put everything in their name.

What action can the police take:

The RCIPS Family Support Unit investigates cases of domestic violence and juvenile matters. Such as child neglect and child abuse and other offences relating to families.

The Unit also works very closely with Department of Children & Family Services, to address issues surrounding the family.

Some of the offences that can arise from domestic violence:

• Insulting the modesty of a woman, up to 10 years.

• Rape: life Imprisonment.

• Threatening violence: three years if occurred in the day. Five years if occurred in the night.

• Assault ABH/GBH: five years to life imprisonment

• Murder: life Imprisonment

• Misuse of the ICT law: up to five years imprisonment

• Wrongful confinement: up to five years imprisonment.

‘Domestic violence is a cycle that can be broken,’ said Detective Constable Dausea Scott of the Family Support Unit.

‘Families suffering abuse can seek to end this cycle by saying no and taking action to stop the violence. Educate yourselves; know that violence of any kind is wrong.’

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Help available

Listed below are a number of other agencies that provide services to the Cayman community, whether you are a victim or a perpetrator:

Family Support Unit at 946-9185.

Cayman Counselling Centre, 949-8789. Located at West Wind Building North Church Street, 3rd floor.

Crisis Centre, 943-2420. They provide 24-hour counselling hotline services.

Women’s Resource Centre, 949-0006. Located at Elizabethan Square. ground floor.

Probation After Care Unit, 949-1693. Located at Walkers Road (upstairs Wendy’s).

Department of Children & Family Services, 946-0024. Located at the Mirco Center, GT.