December 10, 2019

Cayman: Multi-agency Alliance to end domestic violence launched

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Several of Cayman’s government agencies and non-profit organizations have come together to form the Alliance to End Domestic Violence. The Alliance, whose membership consists of agencies which have a mandate relating to persons who have experienced domestic violence, aims to enhance the support those persons receive, and further educate the public on the impact domestic violence has on society as a whole.

Chaired by the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the core membership of the Alliance also includes the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Community Rehabilitation, the Family Resource Centre, Gender Affairs Unit, Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. The Alliance also consults and works together with other agencies as necessary, as well as directly consulting with persons who have experienced domestic violence.

While the overarching vision of the Alliance is to see the eradication of domestic violence in the Cayman Islands, its ongoing mission is to empower people to live lives free from domestic violence through multi-agency coordination, advocacy and public education.

“At the Crisis Centre we have found that in many ways it can be a very convoluted process for our clients to navigate the various agencies who deal with domestic violence,” said Ania Milanowska, Executive Director of the Crisis Centre. “As such, one of the Alliance’s first goals is to analyze the specific roles each of our agencies play in the journey of survivors. In doing so we hope to identify and address barriers survivors can face, and begin to build a more tightly coordinated approach to addressing domestic violence.”

Public education is one of the Alliance’s major focuses, beginning with ongoing media outreach.

“While we believe that most persons are aware that domestic violence is an issue in the Cayman Islands, we also know that most people are not fully aware of the scope of the problem. This is partly because, due to the private nature of this type of violence, individual incidents are not generally reported to the media,” said Renee Ebanks, Intake and Administrative Officer at the Family Resource Centre. “Using monthly and weekly radio appearances, PSAs and social media, we hope to educate the public about the prevalence of domestic abuse in the Cayman Islands and the very real impact it has on all of us.”

The Alliance to End Domestic Violence began monthly meetings in June, and has chosen October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness month, to formally launch the Alliance. A formal launch event was held yesterday evening, 15 October, at the Governor’s House, and was attended by various stakeholders from across government and the private sector. During the reception, Mrs. Elisabeth Roper, wife of His Excellency the Governor, Martyn Roper, announced that she would be lending her support to the Alliance as its patron.

“Although the Alliance is in its beginning stages, we are encouraged by the willingness of our members to embrace this coordinated approach, and we believe that it represents a step in the right direction to support people to live lives free from domestic violence in Cayman,” Ms. Milanowska said.

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