Draft Domestic Violence Bill To Reach Parliament Soon
A draft Bill on Domestic Violence, which is currently being reviewed by major stakeholders, will soon be submitted to Parliament for ratification.
This disclosure was made by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, at a reception to mark the fifth anniversary of the SAVE Foundation, recently.
Minister Blackett pointed out that the Bill “seeks to bring our legislation in line with what is currently the best international practices”. He said the legislation would “go a long way towards the protection of victims and the correction of those that commit such acts”.
Underscoring the consequences of acts of domestic violence, the Minister stated that: “Violence of any sort begets violence. Many individuals out of hurt, anger, fear and frustration react violently when confronted with challenging situations. Additionally, research has shown that some children who witness or who are victims of violence are more prone to be neglected through the effects of their parent’s emotional trauma. Some affected children grow up to be abused or to become abusers themselves; many others may suffer from stress related ailments and disorders.”
The Social Care Minister also alluded to the impact which incidences of domestic violence had on the workplace, stating that it could negatively affect the victim’s work performance and productivity. “It results in financial loss to victims and their families and impacts the economic bottom line of employers. In short, domestic violence, as are all acts of violence, is counterproductive to the entire society,” Minister Blackett asserted.
Also sharing those sentiments was Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who highlighted absenteeism, presenteeism, accidents due to lack of attentiveness, distrust of colleagues and withdrawal, as some other issues faced in the workplace by victims of domestic violence.
She, therefore, noted that Barbados, in keeping with the International Labour Organisation’s Conventions, has recognised the workplace as an important setting in addressing violence against women. “…There is a growing interest by employers’ and workers’ organisations and governments to support workers who are affected by this form of violence. There is also a growing movement to use the workplace to sensitise workers on major issues of health and wellness, including lifestyle diseases and domestic violence,” Senator Byer Suckoo said.
The Labour Minister further urged Barbadians not to “be nonchalant” as domestic violence could happen to anyone.