Gender violence committee formed

The government has set up a committee to address gender and family violence in the Cayman Islands. 

The Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing last week announced the formation of the National Committee on Gender and Family Violence.  

The committee – whose co-chairwomen will be ministry Senior Policy Advisor for Gender Tammy Ebanks and Senior Policy Advisor for Community Affairs Debbie-Ann Whittaker – aims to “improve institutional responses and resources for victims and perpetrators of gender and family violence as well as to coordinate public education on issues of gender and family violence and other related matters”, according to a statement released by the ministry. 

“Following an overwhelmingly positive response from the various entities involved, I am pleased to announce the names of the 17 qualified individuals who have committed to this initiative,” said Mike Adam, the Cabinet minister responsible for community affairs and gender. “With the recent launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which seeks to eliminate gender-based violence, the timing could not be more significant.” 

A report on gender violence, which the government approved in late 2008, identified the need to re-establish a national entity to address gender violence and other related issues. A recent draft Crime Reduction Strategy report compiled by the Cabinet Office also recommended the formation of such an entity. 

Between 2000 and 2003, a body called the National Committee Against Domestic Abuse addressed the issue of violence in the home, but that disbanded.  

According to the ministry, the new team will “bring a holistic focus to issues of gender violence, family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and stalking”. 

The new national committee’s membership come from backgrounds in human services, education and youth services, judicial, police, rehabilitation as well as marketing and communications, with most of the committee members coming from government departments and agencies. 

“It will work on improving systems by providing recommendations to government in relation to the development of policies, procedures, legislation, training, public education and other responses to these important issues,” the ministry statement read.  

Each member will serve for two years with an opportunity for re-appointment.  

This year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign began on 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and continues through 10 December – International Human Rights Day – to emphasise that domestic violence is a violation of human rights.  

This year’s campaign theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women”. 

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