Another home for survivors of domestic violence is needed, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde has said.
“What we have now is inadequate,” she said of the lone facility for women and children escaping violence in the home.
But the Minister did not indicate whether the state was willing to build the extra home or would encourage others to do.
The Minister also said there is currently has no updated data on domestic violence, or other cases of abuse.
“So, unless we get the statistics to be able to gauge what is going on, it is going to create some challenges for the future.
“We would want to know how many women died, how many men died, how many women were beaten brutally, how many children were savaged by others bullying them at school.
“All of that is to do with violence. We don’t keep our records at all, not in our schools and not in our churches. I think we have reached that stage, with access to technology,” Forde said.
Forde spoke to the media today on the sidelines of a consultation on intimate partner violence at United Nations House at Marine Gardens, Hastings.
The minister suggested that in order for Barbados to effectively fight against domestic and other forms of violence, the country must be able to show figures.
In the same way that the Royal Barbados Police Force is able to report crime statistics, governmental and non-governmental agencies established to handle violence and abuse should accumulate data to enable strategic planning to deal with the social scourge.
Forde also said that international lending agencies are reluctant to supply funding if there is no data for them to analyse.
“I think that is where we fall down in Barbados; in most instances. Our data collection processes are so slow, or so late in coming forward. Therefore we don’t want 2012 statistics in 2018 and 2019.
“We need current data so that in planning going forward we know then how to have the resources made available. Not only the resources, but also the necessary training as well as the other facilities,” she said.
Players from governmental and civil society organisations, attended the consultation, which was focused on coordinating a stronger response to intimate partner violence in Barbados.
The National Organisation of Women (NOW) public relations officer, Marsha Hinds-Layne, said the effort is to create a one-stop mechanism where survivors of domestic violence can have their needs addressed.
“So we have created a space with the support of UN Women and the Bureau of Gender Affairs, to have that conversation and discussion. We hope that at the end of the day that we have a commitment from all of these players going forward as well as some kind of general outline that we can use to create this one-stop centre for survivors,” Hinds-Layne said.