March marks 10 years since the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre opened its doors in Grand Cayman.
The centre held its opening ceremony on International Women’s Day, on 8 March, 2003.
This year, the centre’s anniversary was observed during a reception at Government House on Thursday, 7 March. During the reception, Len Layman, president of the board of directors, said, “As we celebrate the centre’s first 10 years, we lament that the services of the centre are still needed. However, the sad fact is that domestic abuse is still a problem in our community. What we are celebrating is the fact that we have been able to offer a choice to the victims of abuse and their children, that we can provide them a place of safety, and the help and information needed to break the cycle of abuse and give them the start on life.”
The Crisis Centre is the first and only organisation in the Cayman Islands that provides emergency shelter and support services for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Since its inception, close to 700 women and children have received direct services.
“I commend each and every woman who comes through our doors, for their courage to leave everything they know behind and to admit, most of all to themselves, let alone to the outside world, that their relationships are abusive,” said Ania Milanowska-Sedgley, director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre. “Our clients have recognised that something else is much more important than fear and as a result they took this extremely difficult step to break free. They truly deserve our respect and all the support that is available”.
In order to mark the centre’s 10th anniversary and to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence, the centre is planning to release a series of 10 public service announcements this year. These will be uploaded to the centre’s Facebook page and website and the directors also hope they will be shown on television.
This year, the Crisis Centre is also introducing the “Find Your Voice” initiative, which seeks provide the centre’s clients with a mobile phone, which will make the process of finding an apartment, establishing employment and connecting with family easier.
Starting in April, collection boxes will be set up at LIME retail stores, Kirk’s and Foster’s supermarkets, where the public can donate old mobile phones and accessories. These will be sent to the US for recycling and the proceeds will go toward the purchase of new phones, pre-paid minutes and other programme needs. LIME has pledged to provide the phones and pre-paid minutes for the first year.
In addition to providing emergency shelter, the Crisis Centre also operates a 24-hour crisis line (943-CICC/2422), as well as ongoing support and counselling programmes, community education and assistance to all victims of abuse.
The centre services are available to everyone regardless of race, creed, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, language and physical ability.
The safe shelter programme is available for women and their children only. However, services such as the 24 hour confidential crisis line and education programmes are available to everyone. The centre provides its programmes at no cost and the services are available in Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.