Jamaica: More men than women killed in domestic violence

Jamaica Observer:-IN the last two years, 82 men have lost their lives to domestic violence in the island, twice the number of women who have died under similar circumstances.

The startling revelation was made yesterday by National Security Minister Robert Montague who, while pointing out that there is a disturbing trend of men being abused by women, said it is likely that even more men had died as a result of domestic violence, but the cases were not reported.

“…More men would have lost their lives because, at the time of reporting, some of the family members don’t speak the truth,” he said.

Quoting police statistics, the minister said that in 2015 a total of 46 men died as a result of domestic violence, while 15 women were killed. In the following year, 38 men were killed, while 25 women lost their lives.

Overall, Montague said 450 people had lost their lives as a result of domestic violence in the last 10 years. However, he noted that while domestic abuse affects everyone, a lot of men are suffering in silence.

“The silence from our men is deafening because there is a disturbing trend of men being abused by their female partners and they remain silent because they don’t want to be called ‘maama man’, but they too are suffering and suffering silently,” Montague said.

“There is no discrimination when it comes to domestic violence. Perpetrators come in all shapes and sizes; they come from uptown and downtown and they come from every profession,” the minister added.

Montague was speaking at a domestic violence training workshop certificate handing-out ceremony at Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church on Hope Road in St Andrew, where about 220 chaplains and peer counsellors collected certificates.

“Today marks an important occasion in which we are taking proactive steps towards dealing with a serious issue. Domestic violence is a serious matter and a serious crime,” Montague said.

He said it was an unfortunate reality that most people have been exposed to at sometime in their lives.

“Too many times people argue about the simplest of things and it ends up in critical injuries or death,” he added.

Noting that 37 per cent of murders were as a result of domestic violence, the minister said that the Jamaica Constabulary Force is taking proactive steps to address the problem.

He said that in the last 12 months, 400 cops have been trained in domestic violence prevention and counselling. In addition, every police station now has an officer who is in charge of dealing with domestic violence, while every police division has a liaison officer.

He said that when a child sees his or her father, beating his or her mother, or the mother beating the father, it is likely that the child will grow up and do the same thing.

“Something has to be done to break the cycle,” he said.

Police Commissioner George Quallo, in his address, reiterated that every Jamaican has a role to play in the fight against crime, which included domestic violence.

“Too often we sit on our verandahs and say it is not our problem. But I am here to boldly say it is a problem for all of us, and we all have a stake in getting this country to where it needs to be,” he said.

The police commissioner also lauded the volunteers, noting that it was not the easiest thing to get people to volunteer but that he was pleased to see the number of chaplains who have made themselves available to deal with crime and violence in the country.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant, who spearheaded the initiative, said the United States Government has donated a facility near the police Area 5 headquarters in Constant Spring, St Andrew to be used as a domestic violence counselling centre.

She also said the police are in dialogue with a possible donor for a house to temporarily accommodate victims of domestic abuse.

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