Ministry of Gender Affairs seeks to consolidate gains in reduction of domestic violence

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 06, 2019 (SKNIS): The majority of victims of domestic violence globally are women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the scale of violence against women is considered “a major public health problem” with 1 in 3 women worldwide experiencing physical sexual violence in their lifetime.

With the worldwide observance of International Women’s Day slated for March 08, the Ministry of Gender Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis is shining the spotlight on domestic violence. It is fitting given that there were two cases of intimate partner violence in St. Kitts last month that caught the nation’s attention.

Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs, Honourable Wendy Phipps, noted the issue of intimate partner violence in her address to commemorate St. Kitts and Nevis’ celebration of International’s Women’s Day 2019, which will be marked by a series of activities locally.

“One of the core preoccupations of the Department of Gender Affairs continues to be the matter of domestic violence in our Federation. Too much of it is still occurring and there is a need to address this scourge at its root,” Minister Phipps stated, noting that there were 120 reported cases of domestic violence up to November 2018.

While troubling, the numbers were lower than the 300 reported cases in 2017.

“The Ministry considers that part of the necessary turnaround demands gender sensitization for all; an examination of the manner in which we raise and socialize our young girls; anger management training; and the development of a greater sense of self-esteem among victims,” Minister Phipps stated. “The Ministry reminds all women that whatever they are willing to tolerate they will never be able to change.  As such, women who are experiencing domestic violence need to promptly get out of such volatile and dangerous situations, seek help from law enforcement agencies and the Department of Gender Affairs, and access the available counselling services to help them overcome these negative domestic experiences and move on with their lives.”

The minister of state also encouraged persons to “cover in prayer and intercession the mothers of both victims and perpetrators of youth and gang violence.”

Honourable Phipps highlighted several local activities coordinated to celebrate the month.  These include the annual International Women’s Day Award Ceremony on March 08; Distribution of Care Packages to the eight females at Her Majesty’s Prison on March 11; An appearance on the radio and television programme Working for You on March 06; Presentation in schools on March 15; and a One-day Post-Launch Consultation on the Domestic Violence Complaints and Response Protocol on March 21.

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