It’s not often that the stated vision of an organization is to put itself out of business. But that is precisely the goal of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre: “to close our doors forever because our services are no longer needed.”
This ambitious goal should be the collective aim of all of us in the Cayman Islands.
We all want to live in a society that is tranquil and peaceful; one in which everyone is safe – particularly in their own home – and domestic violence is nonexistent. It’s an admirable, but elusive, dream.
In the interim, the Crisis Centre provides essential services to individuals and the community. The Centre provides safe shelter to victims of domestic violence and their children; staffs a Crisis Helpline for anyone who is being hurt by a partner or who suspects they know someone who is; counsels and supports survivors of domestic violence; and works to educate the community about family violence and healthy relationships.
The Crisis Centre is composed of stalwart advocates for a vulnerable population that finds it difficult, or unsafe, to speak out publicly about their experiences.
Therefore, it is encouraging to see so many businesses, groups and individuals coming together to support this most worthy cause – particularly during the ongoing “Raise the Roof” campaign to raise funds for a purpose-built shelter to safely house victims of domestic abuse.
Most recently, the Crisis Centre was the beneficiary of this year’s Flowers Sea Swim. Hundreds turned out to help kick off the fundraising campaign at the annual charity dinner and listen as actor Kelsey Grammer shared his own family’s experiences with violence.
“This Crisis Centre, it’s all of you, a wonderful group of caring people,” Mr. Grammer told the crowd. “You’re all willing to hold a light up to extraordinary darkness.”
Despite the best efforts of advocates, domestic violence remains a persistent social problem. Demand for Crisis Centre services has been increasing for several years. In 2011-12, for example, the center received 157 crisis calls and sheltered 52 women and children, according to the group’s statistics. In 2014-15, they received 316 crisis calls and sheltered 113 clients – more than double the numbers from only three years before.
A purpose-built shelter will help the Crisis Centre meet this increasing need for services, offering a safe place for people to escape violence at home.
The estimated price tag for the facility is $1.2 million – significant, but certainly reachable, given the demonstrable generosity of Cayman’s philanthropic community.
As with so many societal issues, domestic violence has roots that are entangled with other phenomena. For example, it is difficult to separate the issue of mental or physical abuse from the subject of alcohol abuse which, in turn, contributes to a myriad of social ills, including violence, carnage on our roadways and a host of serious health problems.
To find out how you can help the Crisis Centre and its mission, call 949-0366 or visit www.cicc.ky. If you are experiencing domestic violence or are concerned that someone is being abused, call the Crisis Helpline at 943-CICC (2422).
And, finally, if you are in an emergency situation or are in immediate danger, the first number you should dial is 911.