A major fund-raising drive to assist victims of domestic violence is to be launched here this week.
Coordinator Shelly Ross told Barbados TODAY a special “telethon” was being planned for April 28, which is celebrated here as National Heroes Day, with the aim of raising $100,000 in support of the Battered Persons’ Fund.
Proceeds from the event, which will utilize the various social media platforms, will go directly towards the SAVE Foundation and the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados — two local entities in the forefront of the local domestic violence fight.
During the telethon, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the food court at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, survivors of domestic violence will have an opportunity to tell their story. Members of the public can also make financial pledges to the Battered Persons’ Fund.
“The Fund is basically to help persons who have suffered physically and have either been disabled or in some way disadvantaged and now need help in getting back on their feet,” explained Ross.
She also pointed out that in some cases the victims were not able to work, but were still faced with legal, medical and other expenses as a direct result of domestic violence.
“It will also help persons in abusive relationships that are trying to get out and cannot get out because of financial situations. They may need somewhere to move to, but can’t afford the house rent and they cannot afford whatever it takes to move to get them in a new home away from the abuse. So there is quite a bit of expense in fleeing domestic violence,” the women’s advocate added.
Ross also revealed that the lone shelter for battered women in Barbados was in need of about $80,000 worth in maintenance.
“Now we are also looking at helping that shelter be maintained, because that is where a lot of the women are going to be running to, to flee domestic violence, so we must have some place these women can go. Some place comfortable,” she said, noting “many times when the women go to the shelter, they always have children in tow”.
“The situation is really dire. There is a lot of need out there,” Ross added.
However, she cautioned that there were conditions attached to the financial help.
“It is not automatic. You have to prove your violence. In other words, there must be some contact with the police; there must be a report from a doctor . . . somebody who can say, yes, that you are suffering this abuse [and] that the abuse is basically not caused by yourself and that you do need help,” Ross emphasized.
She disclosed that where house rent was required, the money would be paid to the landlord or to counselors where that was needed.
She said a special group of “contact persons” would be employed to work with the victims and these professionals would be paid from the fund on their behalf.