MINISTER of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange recently opened the second Government-run shelter for victims of domestic abuse, saying she is happy it has become a reality.
The minister cut the ribbon, symbolising the opening of the facility, in the presence of the high commissioner of Canada, as well as representatives of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, the UNFPA and UN Women who have been assisting the ministry to establish safe spaces for women.
Grange said this latest shelter — the second of three to be opened — “is ready to accept women and their children who have had abusive situations and need to move from that kind of situation into a shelter where they get protection”.
The minister said this second shelter, located in a remote location, would focus on housing “very high-risk victims”. However, she said any woman who needs the shelter should call the National Helpline on 876-553-0372.
The opening and tour of the new facility took place on Human Rights Day — at the end of the 16 Days of Activism towards eliminating violence against women.
“We are celebrating 16 days of activism against violence against women and I scheduled this tour so that I could demonstrate that we are doing something about protecting our women and that we have facilities that are ready to be occupied. So here we have additional facilities. This facility can house approximately 13 persons. It's a comfortable facility… What we have been able to do is to say to the public that we are ensuring that our women are protected — that we create safe spaces for them,” said Grange.
Women who go to government shelters will receive counselling in an environment free from violence or judgement.
“The environment is quite therapeutic; it is evident that this is a place to heal,” said programme manager for the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, Vanna Lawrence.