A Central Registry for Domestic Violence Gives Hope

With rumours of the owner of Sheron’s Auto and his wife Rachael reconciling after a public fallout that led to the car dealer spending a night behind bars, the launch of a central registry of domestic violence seemed like a timely coincidence. It was not too long ago, a video circulated in local social media of another female being beaten violently with a metal object as well as kicked brutally in the head in a bar. This person and her assailant are also back together with charges never even pressed on that occasion. These are just two public examples of the travails of women involved in domestic violence locally. If we are honest, it's also an example how most of these situations end up locally - in reconciliation. It somewhat explains why many times the Police Service are hesitant to get involved in domestic matters as are other parties. 

This is why the introducition of a Central Registry could be beneficial, especially to those who feel trapped with nowhere to turn. Also, if properly administered, it can monitor those against whom reports have been made in a hope of preventing the prevalent murder\suicide incidents that seem to stem from these relationships. 

The Central Registry for Domestic Violence will establish a streamlined comprehensive system for the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant and accurate data on domestic violence in Trinidad and Tobago said Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) the Honourable Ayanna Webster Roy. She said at the launch at the International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain, the registry, would provide a more efficient method of monitoring situations and assist service providers to identify those in need of specialized support.

“The system is intended to facilitate coordination between agencies which interact and provide services to survivors and offenders; it serves as a national measure to enhance the civil society services to rehabilitate perpetrators and to aid attention in domestic violence and family violence as well as our public awareness campaigns. The office of the Prime minister is therefore reviewing the 1999 Domestic Violence Act to engage in legislative reform that would provide greater protection for survivors.”

The Government recognizes its responsibility to support families at various levels from financial stability to well-being, Ms Webster said “one of the first steps that moves our nation forward in reducing the incidence of domestic violence is the establishment and enforcement of appropriate laws for us to have important decision making for and us to target out resources effectively. We would continue to refine legislation and service delivery that would treat with all cases of child abuse and reduce the surge in new attacks. 

The national domestic hotline 800-SAVE,reported more than 6000 reports in October 2010 toSeptember 2015.The crime problemanalysis branch of the police service reported more than 9800 reports between 2010 and 2014,however these reports reflect multiple offences perpetrated against victims. Ms, Webster Roy said “Most timesthose who have been encouraged to go and report their abuse sometimes don’t. There’re a number of men and women in oursociety who have not built up the courage to actually go and report,so as it stands today our data isn’t that accurate.”

The central registry would now take that information and refined it for more specific reporting.This registry will also be complemented by the children’s registry for more abrasive tracking and provision of services to our citizens.There’s a pronounced need for reliable data in order for any agency to make a sustained difference.


Experiencing domestic violence ? Call any of the numbers below

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800- SAVE(7283)

Child line 131/800-4321

The Children’s Authority Hotline 996/800-2014

Families in Action – 628-2333

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