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Seebaran-Suite: Focus on perpetrators of violence against women

News day / “We need to have a significant focus on the perpetrators .

There has been a lot of emphasis on the victims, the survivors, counselling for them, shelters for them, hotlines,” she said, but not so for perpetrators .

Speaking on Wednesday last at the SALISES /Soroptimist International/IGDS Forum III 2016 on Eliminating Violence Against Women at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, she recalled a “terrible experience” early in her practice in which one of her clients was killed while trying to retrieve items from the home she shared with her abuser .

Her client, she said, went with police officers, movers, and a marshal of the court .

“Yet she was killed in the presence of all these people in the home. It had to do with a lack of focus on the perpetrator,” she said .

Seebaran-Suite noted too, the “dire need for policy redirection” for the police and the magistracy in dealing with the protection of victims of domestic violence .

Police officers, she said, would easily take victims out of the home for their safety and protection but when the victims attempt to get back into their homes they may be locked out .

The policy of removing the victim, she said, does not favour women and children, who according to international statistics are in excess of 90 percent of victims of domestic violence .

In metropolitan countries like Canada and the United States, she said, the perpetrators were taken out of the home. This has created a revolution among men in terms of prevention, she said .

Such a policy change for Trinidad and Tobago, she said, would not be simple because provisions for the perpetrator have to be made .

“There has to be an organised arrangement for the reception of the perpetrator,” she said, whether it is at a holding place at a police station in each region, or through an NGO that will provide intervention .

Another problem that needs remedying, she said, was for police officer to advise the victims of their rights to apply for protection orders, and to charge perpetrators for the offences which they see taking place .

“They do not do that,” she said.

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