May 17 – The Jamaica Constabulary Force is reaffirming its commitment to reducing incidents of domestic violence, through educating citizens, and investigating all reported cases of domestic violence. With the recent expansion of its domestic violence intervention (DVI) centers to St. Thomas, and six others slated to open in July of this year, the process is well it’s the way.
The JCF is also encouraging persons to report all suspected cases of domestic violence, even if they’re not the victim.
“Report it, something will be done. When you have a DVI Centre, [neighbours] can come in or give us a call and tell the police what is going on. The victim may be too embarrassed to do it. Tell the police; there are many pathways from which help can come,” explained Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Force’s Corporate Communications Unit.
The JCF recognises that during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, persons in abusive situations may be at increased risk of abuse. The fallout of the economic downturn and the restrictions on movement have forced some people into close quarters for protracted periods, which has placed additional stress on households that are already dysfunctional.
The JCF has sought to expand its capacity to intervene in domestic violence situations. She said over 300 supervisors and managers have had DVI training since 2020, with 168 in the last 3
months. This is in addition to the mandatory domestic violence module for all police recruits in basic training at the National Police College of Jamaica.
She also disclosed that a national coordination unit for domestic violence has been established within the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB) that will capture data and interface with external partners.
“We are strengthening the existing processes and procedures for dealing with domestic violence and have instituted additional reporting and accountability measures. Each station commander is required to pay particular attention to domestic violence cases within their policing area and report daily to the DVI Liaison officer within the division so that these reports can be appropriately monitored,” Lindsay said.
According to SSP Lindsay, these additional accountability measures coupled with the expansion of the JCF’s DVI centers should lead to more accessibility and better outcomes for those seeking help.
She pointed out that the DVI centers offer professional counseling, referrals to appropriate agencies, follow-ups with clients, and relevant updates and feedback. Counseling is provided by certified volunteer counselors and chaplains who are trained in handling domestic violence matters.
“The Police are therefore reminding citizens of the Domestic Violence Intervention (DVI) Centres that were established to deal with all cases of domestic disputes,” she said. “The JCF understands that domestic violence can lead to violent crimes and early intervention is necessary to save lives and prevent injuries. Domestic Violence affects both genders, and as such all reports will be treated with the highest level of professionalism, urgency, and respect.”
Contact our Domestic Violence Intervention Centres:
Yallahs – (876) 982-5072
Morant Bay – (876) 516-6233 or (876) 326-5054
Matilda’s Corner – (876) 978-6003 or (876) 836-1035
Constants Spring- (876) 702-5120 or (876) 702-5121