Monthly Archives: May 2013
Shocked over death
As it expressed shock over the harassment and attack that led to the death of Brenda Belle, the non-profit, victim-centred BPW Barbados today reissued its call for a protocol to deal with a mandatory notification and referral system.
The organisation, which is a charity that has been actively involved in the protection and support of victims of gender-based violence for over two decades through its Crisis Centre and Shelter for Battered Women, stated this evening: “The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados … wishes to express our shock and consternation at the recent harassment, attacks and eventual murder of an elderly woman.”
Belle, 64, lost her life last week after she was chopped to death and her estranged husband, Allan was charged with the matter.
BPW noted that both the Crisis Centre and Shelter worked with medical and law enforcement personnel to ensure the safety of victims, adding: “We are often contacted by these authorities and different private or public entities to intervene, providing safe havens for victims and their families, counselling services and other essential services.
“BPW has an understanding with the Accident & Emergency [Department] of the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] and with the Royal Barbados Police Force to contact the Crisis Centre where immediate safe harbour to victims would be provided. This understanding has resulted in saving lives on many occasions; however, this arrangement seems to have failed in this instance resulting in the loss of a precious life.”
The organisation encouraged further training, education and sensitisation of service-providers and the public on the issue of gender-based violence.
“While we advocate for better legislation and handling of the cases, we emphasise that prevention is key. We implore the implementation of programmes in our primary and secondary schools to educate our boys and girls to reduce the overall incidence of domestic abuse, sexual assault, molestation and other violent crimes.
“BPW Barbados is shocked and saddened by the recent reports of violent deaths of women. Our work continues nevertheless and we appeal to the private and public sector to band to together, to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls,” the NGO reported in a statement.
It furthermore took the opportunity to remind the public of the organisation’s services and how they could be used to protect a victim and save a life, while expressing condolences to the families of those who have lost their relatives to gender-based violence.
BPW has operated a Crisis Hotline since 1986, initially for victims of rape, then expanding to cater to all forms of violence against women. Since 1999 the BPW Shelter has been providing services to victims of gender-based violence, and its staff and volunteers have been on the front-lines with victims, in the courts, in the hospitals, in the shelter and other locations. (LB) – Barbados Today http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2013/05/09/shocked-over-death/
Saying that he has utmost respect for women, entertainer Richard Stoute has released a CD condemning violence against women.
The producer of the annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest also said he would donate part of the sales to one of the women’s organizations.
He was speaking at a Press briefing called yesterday to launch the self-penned track entitled Stop The Abuse Of Women at the Clement Payne Centre in Crumpton Street, St Michael.
The song was recorded at the Dale Husbands Studio and produced by Husbands.
Receiving copies of the CD were Rashida Beckles, volunteer and regional representative of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and Barbara Daniel-Goddard, counsellor of the Service Alliance for Violence Encounters (The SAVE Foundation).
“Too many of our womenfolk are dying at the hand of violence. If we continue to overlook these things, they will continue to happen. I hope that this song sends a message to the men to be appreciative and more thoughtful before they take a life,” said Stoute. (JS)
Stoute says no to abuse with new song
4/5/2013 – Barbados Advocate
From left: Rashida Beckles of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Richard Stoute and Barbara Daniel-Goddard of the SAVE Foundation.
Enough is enough! That is the cry of Barbadian entertainment stalwart Richard Stoute, as he debuted his new song “Stop De Abuse” in reaction to the regular and seemingly nonchalant violence being perpetrated by men on women.
The song, along with another new release “Wake Up Everybody”, was launched by Stoute at the Clement Payne Centre recently, with ringing endorsements from head of the Clement Payne Movement and the September 3rd Foundation, David Comissiong; singer/songwriter Anthony ‘Mighty Gabby’ Carter; and representatives from the SAVE Foundation and the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados.
Stoute, who also released an uplifting song entitled “Unity” last year, said successive disturbing events in our society related to the mistreatment of our women sparked him to write the tune in just one hour. The most recent incident being the death of Kimberley Hinds, a 24-year-old mother of two who is alleged to have been killed last month by a man she knew.
As I recorded this song, there was another murder of a woman in St. Thomas and I just feel that women need this song. Most of the songs about women are about jamming, et cetera…and I think they deserve much more and much better than somebody taking their life.
“Too many of our women have died at the hands of violence and it need not be so. No one would want anyone to kill their daughter or their mother, so why are they doing it to other people’s loved ones?” he asked.
As to the song’s possible potency within our society, he says he will be putting in great effort towards the promotion of “Stop De Abuse”.
“I am going to work as hard as possible for this song to make a difference. I am going to try my best to promote it by buying time on the radio stations because I want to make a difference in changing the thinking of our men so that they can see life differently. They do not have to go that route.
“We have 1 200 men in jail and only 38 women. Our men are not thinking and they cannot continue in the same way,” he stated.
Comissiong promised that the September 3rd Foundation will do its part to highlight the violence against women issue, while Gabby suggested that the song be used by the United Nations in their advocacy and promotional campaigns on the topic.
Station Sergeant Rodney Inniss and Inspector David Welch
by Latoya Burnham
By Friday, the police should have new guidelines and procedures regarding the medical reports required in situations of domestic abuse.
And even as police continue internal investigations leading up to this review, the force today announced that it was also looking at the feasibility of a domestic violence unit — a suggestion that has found favour with the local civic organisations representing women.
Police Public Relations Officer Inspector David Welch told media at a press conference at District “A” Police Station today that while he could not discuss much of the case of Brenda Belle, who was chopped to death last week, Commissioner Darwin Dottin had ordered an internal investigation into the incident.
Additionally, said Welch: “He has also ordered that the procedures dealing with victims of crime, with regard to what we refer to as medical report forms, be reviewed. Within the next few days guidelines for the issuing will be published, and for improvements.
“These guidelines will be issued generally to the force. The aim is to make the process more friendly for the victims of crime and he has asked me to say that these guidelines will be published for the information of the public.
“The review has been ordered and is ongoing as we speak and out of that internal investigation, we expect that within the next three days, at least by Friday, those guidelines will be ready … and be prepared to be issued to the force with regard to the medical report form and the procedures thereafter, what should be done.”
The BPW (Barbados) hailed this development this evening, stating: “We totally agree that there should be an investigation so as to see where the system failed. Not to necessarily go after anyone but to start to put a protocol in place that addresses the medical report procedures and police procedures.”
About whether the force needed a special unit to handle domestic abuse cases, Welch noted that there were suggestions coming out of the committee established for the proposed Domestic Violence and Protections Act: “At this point … we are looking at the feasibility and I believe coming out of this review as well that this type of unit would be on the books to see if it is needed.”
He said thought that the force always tried to work with social agencies in dealing with issues of domestic violence where the cases transcended the purview of the police.
Even as Welch spoke of the force not ruling out a specialised unit, BPW (Barbados) too recalled that recommendations for a similar unit had been mooted first about 15 years ago and repeatedly over time by the Bureau of Gender Affairs and NGOs like theirs.
The NGO told Barbados TODAY it would like a see a unit with resources and training that would be able to approach the matters with compassion and empathy and work collaboratively with civil society organisations like BPW and the National Organisation of Women.
Other recommendations made by BPW (Barbados) included:
i) A doctor other than the police doctor who empathises and can work with traumatised persons…
ii) We would want to see the ‘Evidence Act’ changed so that we can have trained Forensic Nurses gather/collect evidence even in the event that the victim does not press charges at that time.
If the evidence is collected, after the person has counselling they may decide to press charges at a later date, and there is evidence that can be used.
iii) Having a counsellor available to the hospital, to bridge the gap between the medical and therapy.
It added: “There should continue to be a space available to the civil organisations which would be part of the protocol/procedures such that it is known when and how to contact BPW which would be able to access the level of safety needed and so move that person to a safe house or to somewhere necessary for their needs at that time. BPW would continue to provide the services it offers.
“These are some of the suggestion but we would want to relook at how we see the unit operating as times have changed and we would want to do research on what is happening in other countries so that we may be on top of the issues and have a dynamic unit,” said the NGO.
The umbrella body for women’s organisations in the island also added its voice, noting that a domestic violence unit was long overdue.
President of NOW, Marilyn Rice-Bowen told Barbados TODAY that a recent trip to St. Kitts and Nevis brought home again the importance of such a unit, noting that that twin-island state had a sexual assault unit which she and others were able to tour and talk to officials there about its functions.
“What I think they should do and I am speaking out of turn, but the women’s organisations that deal with domestic violence, like BPW, they have the centre, the safe house — in any discussions, BPW should be there. Those sessions that they will have, they can bring the experience of BPW to bear.
“As I said, it is a little late. In St. Kitts and Nevis we were doing work and they had this unit set up last year or the year before, so we were allowed to tour and talk with the officials there. So we understand this and welcome that move. It is a step in the right direction,” said Rice-Bowen.
She said NOW was continuing to monitor the progress of the recommendations of the new domestic violence act, adding: “Once it comes into force it will give the act the necessary teeth that are lacking in the current legislation. It would give us the cover that we need. It has been really sad, what happened to Brenda Belle, and we should not let her death be in vain and move the protection to another level.”
Stating though that she could not recall if a domestic violence unit within the force was one of the recommendations to go forward, she said whether it had been mooted or not, it was necessary.
“If it wasn’t, it was something we always expressed the view that we need it here in this island. Reporting will take on a new face. The important thing is the protection of the victim.” firstname.lastname@example.org