A top official in the Bureau of Gender Affairs is warning of the huge costs being incurred by Barbados as a result of domestic violence.
Acting director Nalita Gajadhar said the issue could no longer be viewed as one that only affects individuals and families, in light of its associated national economic cost.
“Let’s look at what it costs our hospital to house a women who has been beaten by her partner. What does it cost us to maintain an Accident and Emergency Unit? What does it cost us when that person has to go into a ward and stay in a bed and be served by doctors and nurses? What does it cost us when we have a to maintain a police service that must have vans and a number of persons to go to houses around the country where there is domestic violence?” she challenged.
“There is a public health cost, there is an economic cost to domestic violence so don’t think that it is just an individual. It is a public health issue. It is a national issue. It is something that all of us need to be concerned about.”
Gajadhar, along with representatives of the National Organization of Women and SAVE Foundation were among the speakers at yesterday’s anti-violence march organised by the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA).
More than 100 people, including members of the Barbados SDA Pathfinder Band, marched from the Goodland SDA Church to the Deacons Farm Development Complex.
“End it now” was the message from Verna Francis, director of the Women’s Ministry of Barbados and Dominica, in reference to the scourge of domestic violence and the associated silence of most victims.
“As women of God we cannot continue to sit idly on the sidelines and do nothing for the many, many women and children here in Barbados and around the world who are suffering some sort of abuse,” she said.
A survey commissioned by the Bureau of Gender Affairs estimated that one in three women in Barbados would experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.