Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Several persons from across various government ministries and departments, legal and medical practitioners, as well as civil society in St. Kitts and Nevis, attended a one-day (July 21) workshop aimed at addressing and dealing with gender-based violence in the Federation.
Virgil Jeffers, Director of the Department of Gender Affairs outlined the aim of the workshop.
“The aim of the workshop is to provide public education to improve the understanding of gender-based violence, its scope and impact, and to advocate for and support victims and survivors affected,” said Mr. Jeffers, while delivering welcoming remarks at the Solid Waste Management Corporation Conference Room. “Specifically we are here, and at the end of the workshop, it is my hope that we would raise awareness and recognition of all gender-based violence; the increase in gender-based violence since the onset of COVID-19, as well as increase the knowledge of how persons can help, protect and provide victims with the support services available.”
Mr. Jeffers welcomed the participants and wished them all the best as they “learn new information that would not only benefit them personally but also help to enhance their skill set at home, work and in the wider community.”
He recalled regional and international data which indicate that “one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime.” He also relayed national statistics spanning three years.
“National data from the Special Victims Unit reveal that all reported cases in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 showed that there has been an increase as the years went by, from 25 percent in 2018 to 92 percent of all cases reported. In 2020, it went to 84 percent. Following the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the number of reported cases increased from 87 cases in 2019 to 359 in 2020,” he said.
The July 21 workshop was organized by the Department of Gender Affairs and financed by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). Mr. Jeffers expressed thanks and appreciation to PAHO for its financial assistance towards the execution of such a timely and important initiative.