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Human Services Ministry strengthens police training capacity to address domestic violence

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2021, 10:04 by Denis Chabrol

Minister of Human Services Dr. Vindhya Persaud speaking at the launch of COPSQUAD

Ministry of Human Services-crafted manuals on how police must deal with reports and victims of domestic violence are to be entrenched in the training of members of the Guyana Police Force, government ministers said.

Speaking with reporters after the official launch of COPSQUAD, an initiative to train at least 2,000 members of the police force in dealing with domestic violence, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn said the manuals would be used to train the civilian law enforcers.

“The very fact that the manual, which is being prepared, will become part of the standard training of officers both at the junior rank levels and at at the senior ranks says that it will remain for a sustainable use in the police force so that we could have improvements,”  Mr. Benn said.

The Human Services Minister Dr. Vindhya Persaud said trainers at the police colleges were also being trained. “This happening with immediate effect and we are also ensuring that not only do they have trainers but we will have trainers at the Ministry of Human Services to complement this for long-term,” she said.

Mr. Benn touted the need for “champions” against domestic violence because this aspect of crime is prevalent in overall statistics.

Commissioner of Police, Nigel Hoppie told the launch of COPSQUAD that while the police force is training members in investigating complaints of domestic violence and rid itself of the image of “police lackluster behaviour” in response to such incidents. “See this as a very timely initiative which will certainly boost your proficiency in addressing issues of domestic violence,” he said.

Dating back to 2009, he said the police force has a mandatory eight-module training programme for recruits and officers as well as the domestic violence unit has been decentralised to regions.

A section of the participants at the COPSQUAD training of police to address domestic violence.

He said that  from January to June 2020 there were 733 reports of domestic violence while there are 896 for the corresponding period this year. The Police Commissioner said 370 cases were made and 439 were made this year for the same period.

Director of Social Services at the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Wentworth Tanner noted that a 2019 Women Health and Life Experiences Survey on domestic violence in Guyana,  found that although there are strong laws girls and women continue suffer high rates of sexual and physical violence. That study was conducted by the Guyana Bureau of Statics, UN Women, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Development Programme, United States Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank,  the Global Women’s Institute of George Washington University and the University of Guyana.  He recalled that Guyanese almost 6 in 10 Guyanese women experience inter-partner violence when the global average is 3 in 10.

Minister Persaud said it is envisaged that all members of the police force, who are trained to deal with domestic violence, would wear a special badge showing that they are equipped to deal with that category of crime.