Abuse prevention starts with you (Pt 1)

first_imgDear Editor,Like many others, The Caribbean Voice noted with horror the experiences of a young lady who was attempting to seek legal advice with respect to sexual groping at her workplace. It is clear that the legal fraternity needs immediate training on dealing with abused clients, and that staff of all lawyers need to be provided with clear guidelines in this respect.The Caribbean Voice is willing to work with the Bar Association to help in this respect. Also, a Client’s Bill of Rights needs to be formalised and posted in the offices of all lawyers and law firms. We urge urgent action by the Ministry of Social Protection and the Bar Association in this regard.Meanwhile, like many others, TCV is extremely happy that Two Brothers Corp took immediate action to fire their HR Manager for inappropriate interview and touching. They have certainly set an example for all other businesses, but we also hope that the Department of Labour would ramp up enforcement of workplace safety requirements to include abuse and mental health in general.As well, businesses must set the parameters for interviews with workers or potential workers, and take necessary measures to ensure that parameters are adhered to; perhaps recording those interviews for quality control, as is done in North America, Europe and elsewhere.The Caribbean Voice has held training workshops for a number of businesses already, with more being planned based on invitations. Businesses can reach out to us via email at [email protected] or by calling Nazim at 644-1152 or 646- 4649.On a related matter, while rape offences are indictable, we urge that they should also be made non-bailable, not only to prevent the accused offender from threatening, abusing, or even fatally attacking the complainant; but also to ensure that the accused does not leave the jurisdiction and subsequently not be found.As well, TCV supports the call by the Women and Gender Equality Commission (W&GEC) for stand-alone sexual harassment legislation. Such legislation must include guidelines for the manner in which sexual harassment cases are handled, especially by workplaces and the Police. The legislation must provide stipulations to ensure victims/complainants as well as whistleblowers privacy and protection. And it must ensure the safety and privacy of witnesses to sexual harassment/abuse, so they would be encouraged to report what they see.Meanwhile, given that latest Police reports show an increase in rape and sexual abuse, an ongoing sensitisation campaign is needed: public service announcements via media, messages at various events, flyers and posters, banners and billboards if possible. One message that needs to be driven home is that ‘no’ means no, even if one is in a relationship. Another is that mode of dress is neither an excuse nor a justification for rape.Also, given that three-quarters of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim — fathers, grandfathers, uncles, neighbours, brothers, sons, nephews, boyfriends, family friends — there is need for guidelines to be provided to children and teenagers especially on recognising where to draw the line in any interaction; and what to do if attempts are being made to cross that line.As well, parenting sensitisation is necessary, so parents understand that when their children say they have been abused, they must be taken seriously, instead of being called liars and threatened into silence.Sincerely,The Caribbean Voicelast_img

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