VICTIMS of domestic violence are being encouraged to contact any of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Domestic Violence Intervention Centres if they are in need of assistance.
The JCF currently has ten centres in operation in the parishes of Kingston, Clarendon, St Ann, St Catherine, St Elizabeth, St Mary, St Thomas and Westmoreland.
These centres are pivotal in bridging the trust gap between the police and citizens, and serve as a critical tool to handle violence resulting from domestic feuds.
Detective Inspector Georgia Lowe, who is stationed at the Community Safety and Security Branch, said the JCF has seen an uptick in domestic violence cases during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Please reach out if you have any situation, do not bear it alone. If you have people you can call — it might be a neighbour, might be a family [member], it might be a pastor — do not suffer in silence,” she said.
“We are just asking persons to be aware and try to resolve issues without being physical, even though we know that domestic violence goes beyond that. We are just asking persons to be mindful, because it is trending upwards,” she added.
Lowe noted that the JCF has officers who are trained in conflict resolution and are on hand to defuse disputes before they become violent.
“The JCF has trained mediators, and most police officers working at a station are trained in mediation because — from day to day — a lot of the time spent at some stations [involves] mediating between neighbours, between families, for simple things. So mediating is a big part of what we do,” she stated.
For her part, Corporal Kayla Keane of the JCF's Corporate Communications Unit noted that the centres are well equipped to manage abuse cases.
“The centres…are specifically created to deal with these types of issues. There are local pastors who can provide whatever spiritual support you might need, because for some conflicts it can be resolved in different ways. So the JCF is very adept at dealing with these activities and we are ready and willing to assist,” Corporal Keane stated.
Meanwhile, head of the Public Safety and Security Branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary McKenzie is encouraging men affected by domestic violence to also come forward and report it.
“We usually have the men who shy away from coming forward and reporting so I want to encourage them, encourage us as men, that let us not sit down and be shy in terms of seeking help,” he urged.
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