GIS – 22 November 2018: While the focus is predominantly on supporting the victims of domestic violence, there is global recognition of the need to engage with the perpetrators to be able to address the problem on every front. The Perpetrators' Rehabilitation Programme (PRP) will be a key pillar in the endeavour of strengthening intervention strategies for both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands and Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, made the above statement at the opening of a consultative workshop for the development of the PRP this morning at the Gold-Crest Hotel, in Quatre-Bornes.
In her address, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo highlighted that emotional, physical and sexual violence against women is a social scourge, adding that women are most commonly victims of violence at the hands of their intimate partner, and within a domestic setting which is meant to be a safe place. She underlined that domestic violence is a national issue and is being dealt with urgently to break the vicious cycle of violence.
On that note, she reiterated Government’s vision to enhancing the social landscape of the country by advocating for social justice, equal rights, dialogue, respect and tolerance for everyone. Hence, she said, Government is sparing no effort in providing protective services to the victims including individual psychological counselling, legal advice and assistance with application for protection orders as well as assistance for temporary accommodation in shelters.
Moreover, the Vice-Prime Minister emphasised on the need of complementary efforts from the private sector to tackle domestic violence, adding that NGOs are already collaborating in an effective manner. In this combat, she said, it is essential to involve male counterparts so that they help to convey the message of respect and equality in the society at large.
Speaking about existing laws against domestic violence, she indicated that Government has in 2016 toughened the law by making key amendments pertaining to the increase in penalty and imprisonment term. The law however, she cautioned, is only part of the strategy to wage the combat, adding that a long with it, a series of additional measures have to be delineated.
According to Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo, a change in mindset and shift in social norms can help to dispel a gender-biased stereotype which sustains domestic violence. She stressed that parents have the important role of inculcating core values of respect and gender equality to their children at an early stage so that they value the necessity of engaging into respectful relationship.
Perpetrators' Rehabilitation Programme (PRP)
The PRP, an initiative of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, has benefited from the support of the United Nations Development Programme. The programme, once developed, will aim at working with perpetrators of domestic violence to help them change their mindset and behaviour, by helping to redefine themselves, question their values and reshape themselves as non-violent individuals, by addressing factors and triggers as well a root causes of domestic violence.
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