More work to be done to tackle problem of domestic abuse

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Delano Bart at the United Nations in New York (UN Photo)

ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 8TH 2011(CUOPM) – More work is being done to eliminate domestic violence, but legislation alone cannot solve the problems that exist nor can one legislate morality.

“There is recognition that there is need for social transformation on an even deeper level that necessitates not only an examination of the root causes of this resident evil but also a cultural re-education on building healthy relationships between families and the sexes. The Government is willing to buttress the law with supporting infrastructure to facilitate the most effective forms of implementation. However, we reiterate that a lack of resources has sometimes stymied the benefits that could fully accrue in all cases,” said Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Delano Bart, Q.C..

Addressing the Tenth Session of the Human Rights Council, in Switzerland, the Kittitian diplomat noted that St Kitts and Nevis is aware that although many women occupy senior positions in society where more than 50% of households are managed by single mothers, the problem of domestic violence against women persists.

He said the Department of Gender Affairs continues its intense programme of public awareness on the issue of domestic violence including training of frontline workers such as police, counselors, nurses and others in key areas including dealing with victims.

The Department has also organized a series of activities (including a 16 day campaign from November 25th -The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to December 10th – the International Human Rights Day).

“The level of commitment of the Government in this area has resulted in increased support for victims and the opening of a Legal Aid Clinic to give assistance to disadvantaged women and their children. The Department of Gender Affairs has also established an office and training centre which offers instruction on an ongoing basis in income-generating skills training for low income women,” said Ambassador Bart.

He told the Committee that the Department of Gender Affairs has implemented a batterers’ intervention programme.

There has been ongoing consultation between the Department and the Police on the establishment of a special unit with trained officers to deal with children and victims of gender based violence.

“National review and consultations on multi-sectoral responses to gender based violence were conducted and resulted in the production in April 2010 of a Multi-Sectoral National Action Plan on Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Implementation of this plan is intended to ensure enhanced coordinated responses,” said the Federation’s chief UN spokesman.

The Government enacted legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act to promote and protect the rights of all women. The provisions of said Act seek to safeguard the rights of women, to provide redress for the social ill of domestic violence including sexual abuse as well as to employ effective systemic responses to the indignities that some of our women have been subjected to abuse.

The Federation is a State Party to the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women “Convention of Belem do Para”, Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Civil Rights to Women and the Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Political Rights to Women.

St. Kitts and Nevis is also signatory to the United Nations Declaration for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993), The Beijing Platform for Action, (1995), the Millennium Declaration (2000), and the U. N. Security Council Regulation 1325 (2000), on Women Peace and Security, (2000).

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