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CPJC launches domestic violence support group

Observer Central

BY OSHANE TOBIAS Observer staff reporter editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 10, 2012    

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MAY PEN, Clarendon — The Clarendon Peace and Justice Centre (CPJC) is hoping its new social intervention programme — Moving Onward from Violence/Victimisation to Empowerment (MOVE) — will be a refuge to women who suffer from domestic abuse.

Details about the new initiative were announced at a recent domestic violence sensitisation meeting hosted by CPJC at the May Pen Police Station.

Pettia Williams, a social worker with CPJC, explained that the 15-week-long programme will cater to women - 18 years and over - suffering or have suffered from abusive relationships.

"MOVE is a non-funded support group specifically for survivors of domestic abuse," said Williams.

"The ultimate focus of the programme is to be a support group for women suffering from past hurt and to prevent future hurt. It's also based on the idea that women, working together in a safe, friendly and non-judgmental environment, can change their lives in a positive way.

"We want them to be able to understand the dynamics of abuse and how to break those patterns, so that they can not only be reactive, but also proactive. Whatever (knowledge) they gain from the programme they should be able to transfer it to other areas of their lives," she said.

Williams said the programme aims, among other things, to break the culture of silence and the generational cycle of domestic abuse.

"Research shows that domestic abuse is under-reported, so not only do we want to help them recognise the abuse, we want to empower them speak up about it.

"In a family setting, sometimes it's the children who are most affected, and some of them eventually grow up to find themselves in the same situation; so we are trying to preserve the family, because it should be the backbone of our society," Williams said.

She noted that while individual counselling will be given to each participant in the programme, the plan is to place the women in groups of 10 or 12 and have them work together.

"Over the 15 weeks ... we will be looking at how they can cope with anger, self-worth, building self-esteem, changing abusive patterns, and parenting," she added.

"How to build financial independence is another issue that will be explored. Sometimes women who are in abusive relationships find it hard to leave because they think they won't be able to take care of themselves and their children because they are not working," she said.

Williams said, however, that the programme is currently without a sponsor, but is hopeful that support will come from the business community in Clarendon. "We know that funding is not the easiest thing to come by but we are really hoping that the business community will offer some support," she said.

Those wishing to contact the Clarendon Peace and Justice Centre, located at 20 Bryant Crescent, May Pen may call 986-2267/414-83-63 or email cpjc2009@live.com.

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