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Abuse victims haveno confidence in TTPS

Published: 
Saturday, January 13, 2018
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Moderator Marsha Riley, right, and T&T Guardian editor Suzanne Sheppard, left, leading the panel discussion on gender violence at the Enough Iz Enough forum in Woodbrook on Thursday evening. Photo by:ANISTO ALVES

Victims of domestic violence who shared their experiences during a live Facebook session on Thursday evening said they do not have confidence in the T&T Police Service (TTPS) to protect them and provide the right information when they report attacks and threats.

The women were part of a panel discussion, one of the highlights of the Enough Iz Enough campaign against all forms of gender violence hosted by local NGO Is There Not A Cause (ITNAC).

The discussion was moderated by Marsha Riley, a T&T Guardian columnist and host of the CNC3’s Care programme.

One victim, in recounting her experience of leaving an abusive relationship, said the process of getting out and getting protection from her abuser was difficult.

“The system is not functioning, it is very short term,” she said, adding that in her view a protection order is useless and “just a piece of paper.”

The woman said her one positive police experience was with a female officer who took her into her home for a week until a safe house could be found.

Another woman said when she went to the police for help after she left her husband, it was more than a year before officers followed up on her case.

“They could have been coming to my grave,” she said.

A young businesswoman recounted how after a particularly savage beating, during which her clothes were ripped off, police officers were hesitant when she rushed into a police station half naked begging for help. It took the intervention of a pastor to get them to act on her case, she said.

A suggestion that more female officers be assigned to deal with domestic violence cases was well received by participants in the session.

Contacted for comment on the concerns raised by the women, TTPS public information officer ASP Michael Jackman said there are Victim Support Units within every police division to which domestic violence women should be referred after they make a preliminary report to the police.

There they will be provided with counselling and advised on what course of action they should take.

He said once victims make a full statement to the police on the incident and go for medical attention, the perpetrator will be charged.

Jackman also suggested that abuse victims apply for a protection order from the courts and immediately report any breaches to the police so action can be taken.

Thursday’s discussion is one of a series of activities that will be taking place under the Enough Iz Enough banner in the coming weeks or months.

From Monday to Friday of this week there was a campaign during which people were encouraged to wear black or tie black ribbons to their cars in support of the call for an end to domestic violence. This initiative will be carried out in the first week of every month for the rest of the year.

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