|Abuse victims urged to speak up|
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Aug 04, 2012
In the wake of the horrific murder of a young mother last week and the recent uptick in reports of domestic violence, Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin yesterday called on all victims of abuse to seek help before a tragedy can occur.
“Please do not suffer in silence. There are places for you to get help. You do have options and you do not have to live in fear,” said Griffin at the Ministry of Social Services yesterday.
“When the person who hurts you, whose violence you fear, is not a stranger who walks down the street, but someone close to you – someone you have loved and shared your life with – it makes the hurt and pain even deeper.”
In 2010, just under 25 percent of the 700 interventions conducted by the Bahamas Crisis Centre were related to domestic violence compared to the more than 30 percent of the 1,200 interventions conducted in 2011, according to Crisis Centre Director Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson.
However, officials suspect the most recent figures only reflect a fraction of actual cases.
“Please, if you are a victim of domestic violence or are aware of anyone who is a victim, contact the Family Services Division of the Ministry of Social Services through the national hotline numbers: 322-2763 or 422-2763,” Griffin said.
She added that the Domestic Violence Order Protections Act of 2007 offers protection to all victims who have experienced any form of abuse, including children.
In April, Chief Welfare Officer of the Child Protection Division Ray Pinder said the majority of cases of child abuse reported to the Department of Social Services derive from residents in the Englerston community.
“This particular area...is very populated with the matters that are being reported to us,” she said.
It was unclear what percentage of child abuse cases came from the Englerston community or if a specific form of child abuse was prominent.
However, Director of Child Services Lorraine Duvalier told The Nassau Guardian this is not necessarily an indication that more incidents of child abuse have been occurring in Englerston, but instead it could be that more cases are now being reported.
She also said there were other areas that account for a good portion of the reported cases.
According to the department, there were 636 reported cases of child abuse last year, an increase of around three percent when compared to the 615 reported cases in 2010.