The police Family Conflict Intervention Unit is making some headway with the scourge of domestic violence in the island.
While the island’s top cop this evening acknowledged that the Royal Barbados Police Force has been blamed for a lot of the deaths surrounding recent domestic violence incidents, the Acting Commissioner, Tyrone Griffith told an audience at the newest graduation of police recruits from Barbados, British Virgin Islands and Anguilla that since its establishment on June 1, the unit has been “quietly pursing its mandate”.
“Thus far, the activities and interventions of the unit have directly contributed to the assessment of 96 cases; involvement in the arrest of 58 offenders; assistance with the issuance of 12 protection orders, and the referral of several cases to other state and non-state agencies,” said the commissioner at the Regional Police Training Centre late this evening.
His comments came in his first official address in his new office as he noted that last year the largest problem facing the island was crime linked to the Cash for Gold scheme, while this year the problem was domestic violence.
Since its establishment, the acting commissioner of police noted that the unit had undertaken a mandate which included providing guidance to the force in responding to and investigating domestic violence and family conflict issues; inquiries into “serious, chronic or repeated” cases of abuse that could escalate into further crimes; the early identification of abusers to determine the cases to be investigated, as well as the access of victims to avenues for support and counseling; the preparation of cases for prosecution and liaising with other agencies responsible for intervention strategies.
The efforts and breakthroughs of the unit thus far, he continued though, did not preclude the responsibilities of other officers in responding to cases. What needed to happen now, Griffith noted, was more training.
“Let me hasten to say that this unit does not in any way dilute the responsibility of officers at the station level in promptly attending to complaints of domestic violence. It is our intention to supplement this work with training which will be consistent with a commitment to inculcate an organisational philosophy that is not accommodating or supportive of any facet of domestic violence.
“In addition, it is our intention to deliberately identify and target at risk men for the purpose of exposing them to support services that are designed to intervene and reverse negative behaviour. We continue to be encouraged by the recent disclosure from the Office of the Attorney General that efforts are well directed to ensure that a reformed legislative programme becomes part of the suite of interventions necessary to address this most vexing problem,” he said.
He warned though that even with legislation and the best practices in place, the efforts would not always prevent those perpetrators who were bent on committing crime and doing harm to others. (LB)