- New Locations disclosed in Handing Over Ceremony; 11th DVIC coming
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has expanded its Domestic Violence Intervention Centre (DVIC) network to an additional six police stations located in known hotspots for domestic violence, with the support of the Spotlight Initiative (SI), a European Union/United Nations partnership.
The new DVICs increases the national network to 10 and are to be located at police stations in Greater Portmore in St Catherine; Gayle in St Mary; Alexandria in St Ann; Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth; Hayes in Clarendon; and Negril in Westmoreland. (Full list of the DVIC network: https://jcf.gov.jm/domestic-violence-intervention-centers/ )
Disclosure of the new locations came from Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson at a virtual Handing Over Ceremony of six additional DVICs by SI to the JCF on Thursday 7 October, months after initial announcement of the DVIC expansion.
He reported that the DVIC at Greater Portmore police station is fully operational, with the other four DVICs to be open to the public within a few weeks. He announced a seventh DVIC supported under the Spotlight Initiative, will be located in Montego Bay, St James, bringing the total network to 11 nationwide by the end of the year.
He emphasized that every police station needs to be a safe and welcoming space for the public, especially when dealing with vulnerable persons. “We have to fill that gap as a police force because ultimately domestic violence if not dealt with early becomes our problem as a crime and whatever we can do to avoid it getting to that point is something we are committed to as a force for good”, he stated.
“Empathy is key,” declared European Union (EU) Ambassador Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen. In a charge to the police, she said: “I hope that the officers selected to serve in these DVICs will not only see the crimes committed from a law enforcement point of view, but that they will also be able to interact with empathy looking for ways that can lead to conciliation and lasting peace within families and save lives”. She reminded the police: “you are the gateways for individuals seeking protection from abuse who are seeking access to justice or who are brave enough to seek redress from harm. You are the lifeline for victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence especially those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.” Ms Van Steen said the EU is pleased that the Spotlight Initiative is helping to build capacity and infrastructure in order to provide a better working environment for the officers and a place of refuge for victims.
Also speaking to the infrastructural support for DVICs provided through Spotlight Initiative, United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr Garry Conille said this placed Jamaica one step closer to the full range of infrastructure and systems needed to protect women and girls from violence.
He said the Spotlight initiative through the United Nations has partnered with the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Constabulary Force to increase access to and delivery of essential services to victims and survivors of gender-based violence at the community level through the DVICs. He said this partnership also resulted in strengthening the capacity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to respond to GBV with 16 officers assigned to the DVICs participating in survivor- based training. “With supplementary training in sign language, the DVIC (support personnel) are working to ensure that no victim is turned away and that our response leaves no one behind,” he said.
Dr Conille commended the government for its strong commitment to reducing family violence and improving access for women and girls to essential safe and integrated gender responsive services while engaging men and boys and solutions. He expressed the view that government and its partners are committed to a whole of society approach, and to moving violence against women and girls out of the shadows and into the spotlight. “Spotlight is innovative in so many ways because it’s a commitment from the EU to approach the problem in a very comprehensive way and making sure that resources are available so that we’re able to provide this very comprehensive solution,” the UN Resident Coordinator stated.
“The handover of six additional DVICs to the JCF sends a strong signal of the repositioning of the police in our society and restores hope to victims of domestic violence. This is a new picture of the new direction of the JCF, a Force for Good,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon Dr Horace Chang reiterated in his remarks. Minister Chang expressed confidence that the facilities will “strengthen the capacity of the police to rescue and support victims of domestic violence and their families and provide a refuge and beacon of hope for victims and begin to overcome the propensity for violence in our society”.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Hon Olivia Grange called the handover of the six new DVICs a watershed and proud moment that is positioning Jamaica to strategically eliminate gender-based violence in Jamaica. Minister Grange said the DVICs complements and strengthens the national gender architecture in the delivery of quality and coordinated essential services to survivors of domestic violence. “The addition of the six DVICs will go far away to close the gap between individuals who are experiencing domestic violence and their ability to access services which are available at the parish level,” she said.
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Launched with a global seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, the initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Jamaica represents one of the largest investments in Caribbean Spotlight countries, with an 8 Million Euro allocation.
The six pillars of the Spotlight Initiative are: Developing and implementing relevant legislation and policies; Strengthening national and sub-national institutions; Preventing violence through evidence-based programming and campaigns; Strengthening quality essential services for victims and survivors; Ensuring the collection and use of prevalence and incidence data; and Partnering with civil society organizations.
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Launched with a global seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, the initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).