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Domestic Violence Cases in SKN on the Rise; links to COVID-19 Pandemic as possible Cause


by Kevon Browne

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Junior Minister of Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration, the Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams addresses the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women observed on November 25, 2021, which has now been observed for 30 years this year, marking the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Brandy-Williams said we must, as a community, take action now in solidarity with this year’s theme, “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!”

“For those who are fortunate enough not to be personally affected by the verbal onslaught and vicious blows of gender-based violence, we cannot sit idly by. No longer can we say it is his business but not mine. No longer can we use our phones to record incidences of violence rather than for reaching the police. No longer can we laugh rather than lend a helping hand, for violence will not end on its own; it must be stamped out from the heart of our society.

The Junior Minister reported that domestic violence cases rose substantially from 2019, which saw 87 reported cases, to 357 in 2020 during the pandemic and a further increase in the first three quarters of 2021, with 443 domestic violence cases recorded during which the Federation was under several instances of curfews and movement restrictions because of community spread of the virus.

Brandy-Williams believes the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically its lockdowns and further movement restrictions, is the cause for the increase in domestic violence locally.

Beyond the 16 days of activism, what can be done to help combat instances of gender-based violence.

“There are three ways that we can all support ending violence against women and girls.

One, let’s support women’s economic empowerment; it’s a critical prevention measure. Let’s provide equitable, decent work opportunities. Look towards providing gender-responsive social protection measures to reduce and redistribute the unpaid care burden, share the care within your homes and facilitate women’s participation in high growth industries.

Two, let’s always ensure that women’s needs are also front and centre, understanding the different ways in which climate change and disaster risk resilience affect women and men so that we understand the ways in which women face heightened vulnerability to climate change and increased risks of gender-based violence post many disasters.

Finally, we need to ensure that public spaces and urban renewal strategies are gender-responsive, creating sustainable and safe environments for all persons.”

Tonni Brodber, the Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office- Caribbean.

Brodber made those remarks in a special presentation during the Federal Launch of the 16 days of activism at the Villa Grounds in Charlestown on Friday, November 26.


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