Pastors, JCF peer counsellors trained in domestic violence intervention

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — More than 200 volunteer pastors and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) peer counsellors have been trained in Domestic Violence Intervention as part of the Government's crime-prevention efforts.

Speaking at the certificate-presentation ceremony yesterday at the Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston, Minister of National Security, Robert Montague, said the training marks an important milestone in proactive steps being taken by the Government to address the issue of domestic violence and its debilitating effect on the society.

“Domestic violence is a serious matter and a serious crime. Too many times people argue about the simplest thing and it ends up in critical injury or death. Domestic violence accounts for 37 per cent of murders,” the minister said.

Montague said domestic violence is one of the most under-reported crimes in the country, with 450 persons killed in domestic violence-related incidents in the last 10 years.

In 2015, 15 women and 46 men were killed in domestic violence, while in 2016, 25 women and 38 men lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.

The minister said the JCF has been vigilant in its efforts to eliminate the phenomenon.

“Over the last 12 months, the JCF has trained over 400 police officers in domestic-violence prevention and counselling. Every police station now has a point of contact for this crime, and every division has a liaison officer. The police force is being proactive on this front,” he said.

Commissioner of Police, George Quallo, who brought greetings at the ceremony, commended the volunteers for their service and appealed for others to follow their example, arguing that a united front from well-thinking citizens is the best deterrent to crime.

“It is not the easiest thing to get persons to volunteer at this time, so I am particularly pleased to see the number of volunteer chaplains who have turned out and continue to make themselves available to treat with the problem of crime and violence in this country. All of us have a role to play in the fight against crime and violence. With the success that we expect to come from this initiative, we anticipate that more persons will come forward to join in the fight,” he said.

Following several one-day training sessions between May and July, the participants who are assigned to police stations across the JCF's islandwide network will offer counselling to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The programme was spearheaded by the JCF Chaplaincy Services Branch, in collaboration with Phoenix Counselling Centre.

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