Categorized | National News

Children Affected By Domestic Violence, Police Officers told

In an effort to increase the ability of law enforcement to better respond to the needs of communities and victims of gender-based violence, the Pan American Development Foundation conducted a workshop through the Women’s Initiative for Non-Violence and Development (WIND), fully explaining what gender-based violence is and how to respond.

Director at the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Gaynell Curry  told officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force that “Domestic violence, gender based violence is a major concern on the Bahamas as it is globally.

“The project looks specifically at gender-based violence in the Family Islands and a lot of the officers came in from the Family Islands

“Gender base violence affects everyone and children unfortunately are no exception. We have found children, seven and eight years olds are subjected to gender-based violence,” Ms. Curry stated.

She also noted that adults target children and that is something the department is looking to bring an end to.

“The challenge that we have is that many adults prey on children and that’s what we really want to make sure that adults are not harassing children.

“I know we all teach our children about inappropriate touching, but I think it is important for us to teach our children about what makes you feel uncomfortable in what someone may say to you.

“They may speak about your hips, or they may say that you are now having breasts, all of those things that suddenly make you feel uncomfortable about being a girl is harassment,” Ms. Curry said.

To begin to put an end to adult harassing children, the spotlight must be shone on the harasser.

“I think we have to put the spotlight on the harassers and not make little girls or little boys feel like they are doing something wrong by just being little girls or boys,” Ms. Curry said.

Psychologist, Dr. Barrington Brennen, spoke to the officers on the impact of gender-based violence and domestic violence on the victims.

He stated that although this type of violence happens to females and males; females take on more of a psychological effect.

“Psychological abuse can cripple women emotionally. They don’t know what to do, what to say, they’re trapped, they cannot eat well not sleep well and they have high levels of stress which can impact them physically.

“They can feel lonely or isolated although they are actually free, literally free, but they are trapped they can’t go anywhere. It’s like the door’s actually open, but they can’t get out,” Dr. Brennen said.

As for children and men, Dr. Brennen added that they too are effected, whether abused themselves or see the abuse on loved ones.

“For children it can mean sleepless nights, trauma, bed wetting, not studying well, not caring about life, acting out using drugs, alcohol all of those kinds of stuff depending on their age.

“Men have a built in negative impact that (suggests) we don’t supposed to be impacted, so we stay. Men do stay because of denial and fear, because they need the woman,” Dr. Brennen said.

The workshop targeted police officers who mostly encounter gender-based violence or domestic violence through community policing. According to Ms. Curry, this is the beginning of possible solutions to curbing gender-based violence and domestic violence.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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