Active efforts have been made with the “E no ta stòp di mes” project and the awareness campaign for all chain partners involved from the care sector, judicial authorities and the public entities Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius to address domestic violence and child abuse more strongly. Since the start of the project in February 2018, project leader Justine Verschoor has been working on strengthening the collaboration within the chain, increasing the expertise of professionals and increasing the awareness of citizens in the Caribbean Netherlands regarding this difficult topic. The 18-month project was financed by the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Promotion of expertise
The staff of the different aid agencies in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have taken several pieces of training. The Kas Sigur training focuses on the perpetrator, in which it mainly aims to prevent a repeat of the violence. The Signs of Safety training is a method aimed at making safety agreements with victims/clients, mainly focusing on children. This assures an unambiguous and professional approach towards citizens. Project staff in all three islands recently took the ‘Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Worker’ training. The purpose of this training is that after having obtained their certificate, participants will be able to support and inform their colleagues within their organizations in cases of suspicion of domestic violence and child abuse.
The Communications department of Rijksdienst CN organized an awareness campaign in collaboration with the public entities. The campaign was launched in November and was introduced to the press by Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection, who was staying on Bonaire at the time. Different communication tools, including short films, have been used via social media to raise awareness of domestic violence. (link to short films)
Employees of different organizations involved in this project have started collaborating intensively in complex practical cases. The employees are currently dealing with 19 cases. The coordination of the required assistance to clients between the agencies has improved. Furthermore, one agency has been appointed as director per case so that the assistance will become more transparent for the client. The parties concerned who applied for help (often via the Victim Assistance Office) have received support.
The project which was initiated by the Ministry of Justice and Security is complementary to the Administrative Agreement which the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport concluded with the public entities in 2017. The purpose of this agreement is to realize an adequate and sustainable approach to addressing domestic violence and child abuse on the islands. The project means a big step in the right direction now that concrete results have been achieved in above-mentioned areas. The activities aimed at strengthening action against domestic violence and child abuse on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius will be continued and expanded by the public entities in the context of the Administrative Agreement. Continual efforts and attention remain required to reduce domestic violence and child abuse.