THE Crime Monitoring Oversight Committee (CMOC) raised concerns yesterday about the prevalence of intimate partner violence across the island and the level of Government intervention needed to help remedy the problem.
According to CMOC Chairman Lloyd Distant Jr, there is evidence of actions being taken to address violence against children but more needs to be done about domestic violence.
“The committee is absolutely concerned. We find a lot of domestic violence occurring but we are not as confident in relation to what is taking place [in terms of government interventions],” Distant told the committee's virtual bi-monthly meeting to provide an update on the state of crime in Jamaica.
Nadeen Spence, CMOC committee member, pointed out that while they are not satisfied with the level of resources being provided, there is more emphasis on how the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) measures domestic violence.
“That is what we are trying to look at now. Are we getting a clear understanding of the situations that give rise to domestic violence? Is there a good understanding of intimate partner violence within the force so that the responses that are necessary are cut to suit the particular kinds of situations?” asked Spence.
She added that even though the committee suggested plans to strategically respond to matters of violence against children and women, monitoring and tracking the issues are also important.
“We are also engaging the police to [track] sexual assaults, domestic violence and homicides of our women and children, and we wanted to be on target so it can be measured [as these are] key performance indicators which will become critical to our reporting on the victimisation,” she said.
Meanwhile, Opposition spokesperson on national security, Senator Peter Bunting renewed his call for the JCF to share crime data with stakeholders in a disaggregated manner, which would ensure efficiency.
Pointing to the concerns Spence raised about tracking data, he said, “In terms of the incidents of crime against children, women, how many victims have been murdered who fall in those categories? This data was routinely published previously by the JCF and they have deliberately started suppressing that information,” Bunting claimed.
“Similarly, when we count arrests we see arrests which have jumped from 6,000 to over 8,000 this year, relative to last year. What we don't know are the offences for the arrests. If the increase is for persons arrested with evidence under the Firearms Act, then we can anticipate that taking these violence producers is going to have a beneficial effect in reducing violent crimes going forward. But, if the increased arrests are merely from delinquent partygoers – persons who refuse to comply with the DRMA [Disaster Risk Management Act] orders, then we know it's not likely to have an impact on violent crimes.”