A number of high-level gender advocates and policymakers are among those who have already been confirmed for the inaugural Caribbean Conference on Domestic Violence and Gender Equality which will be taking place in Trinidad and Tobago in a few weeks.
The conference is expected to bring together professionals who deal with domestic violence issues, as well as individuals in health care and other social services to have dialogue on critical issues that relate to violence against women and girls. The event is also expected to advance gender equality and empowerment of women which could possibly lead to positive outcomes for everyone -- including men and boys.
The conference is scheduled to take place from March 25 to 27 and is being organised by the Global Centre for Behavioural Health. Among the speakers will be Almas Jiwani, president of UN Women Canada.
Deputy director general of Jamaica Red Cross and member of the planning committee for the conference, Lois Hue, said that a number of Jamaican women's advocates have been invited to the event.
"The Caribbean persons have been concerned for some time about the decline in the treatment of women, and the fact that violence against women and particularly girls have been escalating," she explained.
She said the Red Cross has always strived to introduce elements that deal with gender sensitivity and the treatment of girls in their programmes.
"We thought that it was time for us to now do something that focuses specifically on domestic violence and crime against women," she said.
The Global Centre for Behavioural Health feels gender-based violence is one of the most ignored crimes in the region and continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations.
"According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, every one of the Caribbean islands has a sexual violence rate that is higher than the world average," said president of the organisation and conference chair Dr Donna Baird.