by Derwayne Wills
The security sector will receive a budget of $29.1B with some of that money going to upgrade 12 police stations across the country in their capacity to deal with domestic violence cases.
This announcement made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his budget presentation falls within the 16 days of global activism to end violence against women and girls.
A study will also be conducted in 2017 on violence against women along with another study on crime and violence in indigenous communities, Minister Jordan noted during his presentation.
This announcement also follows a recent statement by Help & Shelter, a rights group work with victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, which challenged the current administration for its inability to implement recommendations made within its manifesto before coming to office.
“It seems that the failure of government to deliver a national response to the problem of domestic violence, lumping it within the category of interpersonal violence and failing to deliver a coherent and informed national gender policy, bodes no good for the advancement of women and girls and gender equality in Guyana,” the organisation said in a November 27 letter to Stabroek News.
The group called for the enactment of the Sexual Offences Task Force provided under the 2010 Sexual Offences Act.
“This failure occurs in the face of sexual offences continuing unabated in homes, communities, schools and workplaces, and affecting girls and women disproportionally more than any other category of persons. As with domestic violence, there has been no coherent plan, policy or programme by the APNU+AFC government to address these heinous crimes,” the letter read.
Government recently set up a Sexual and Domestic Violence Unit under the Social Protection Ministry.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan noted in his presentation that the Social Protection Ministry’s also recently established Gender Affairs Bureau “will undertake training and sensitisation sessions with 100 community policing groups in order to improve responses to gender-based social issues. Relatedly, work has begun to develop a strategic plan for women’s development.”
Consultations on the National Gender Policy have already begun. The government anticipates the policy and an action plan will be completed by September 2017.