GSD Associates with International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women
The GSD Opposition is pleased to echo the sentiments of the UN in its International declaration for the elimination of violence against women, which this year falls on Sunday the 25th of November. According to the World Health Organisation, at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.
The United Nations defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Gibraltar is unfortunately not immune. From questions asked in Parliament by the Hon. Jaime Netto, we know that from February to September there have been a total of 60 reports to the RGP of domestic violence affecting 85 persons, of which 67 were females and 18 were males. As a result of this, a total of seven people were arrested and 4 have been charged.
We, in the Opposition, believe that although more and more women are finding the courage to go and report incidents of abuse against them, the figures may not show the real extent of this problem in our society. Whilst the RGP and the Care Agency have done some excellent work, for some time now, in reviewing their respective policies in this important area, providing essential courses for frontline staff on a multi-agency basis and the financial support for the establishment and development of the halfway house for abused women, the time has now come to move to a higher level of awareness.
This should be done by providing a range of initiatives, such as Senior Managers of the Care Agency providing effective programmes in schools to students, in order to strengthen the primary prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual violence in order to prevent it from happening in the first place, although credit should be given to Claire Borrell and her staff for doing this for a number of years. Additionally, there is a need for outreach programmes to adults in the community in order to allow suffering, abused victims to know that they should not continue to be victimised in silence, without the support and help of professionals.
Commenting on the International Day on the Elimination of Domestic Violence Mr Netto said: Matters of this kind should be the responsibility of all citizens in our society. We all have a vested interest to work together for a better and more respectful life.
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