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Double blow

Women’s crisis centre hit by funding cuts

The refuge centre for battered women here has suffered a double blow with a reduction in Government funding and dwindling donor grants, forcing it to slash its services to those in need.

Over the last three years, the crisis centre run by the local chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Club Over has been feeling the effects of Government cuts, Coordinator Marlene Hewitt told Barbados TODAY.

Hewitt would not say how much the centre had been receiving since the centre opened in 1999, nor would she disclose the depth of the cuts.

However, she said it was deep enough to force the voluntary organization to reduce its staff complement from six to two fulltime employees.

“We’re barely hanging in there. We’re trying to provide the most important things, but some things had to go. It means that the few members that we have, have to put in a lot more work. And it’s not easy for us because we all work.

“So we try to get that extra money from grants, from people making donations. What we’ve seen though is that the grants budget has fallen, especially grants from international donors. They are being redirected to other causes. So the domestic violence and HIV grants have fallen,” Hewitt said.

One of the casualties of the cuts is the centre’s domestic violence counselling programme. Not only has it been reduced significantly, but the child psychologist has had to be released.

In addition, the skills training programme has also been affected, Hewitt told Barbados TODAY.

“We always do the domestic violence counselling but we did a lot more counselling. We can’t [anymore because] we don’t have the personnel. At one time we had a child psychologist, we had gotten a grant for that but we don’t have that anymore.

“And we could do a lot more things. If we had more money we could send people to get some skills. If they’re not working, if they say ‘well I’m interested in that’, you can send them out to get training.  But if you don’t have any money that’s reduced,” Hewitt lamented. 

The coordinator said the authorities had not given the issue of domestic violence the attention it deserves, suggesting that this was the reason for the cuts.

In fact, she complained that women’s issues on a whole were not seen as priorities.

“It should be a priority but I don’t think it is. I don’t think anything to do with women is that much a priority. It’s gotten better, but I think once you use the word ‘gender’ or ‘women’ the priority falls.

“I suppose the Government decides they have to cut. Not that I think they don’t recognize or stop to think if they run it [the crisis centre] themselves it would cost them more money because you wouldn’t have the kind of volunteer work that is done as a backup for the services and the management. If you run it yourself you would have to pay everyone. Nobody is going to leave their house in the middle of the night when there is an issue as the volunteers would do now,” she said. 

11 Responses to Double blow

  1. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva July 23, 2016 at 4:10 am

    This is very unfortunate. It is quite evident domestic violence is not a taken very seriously in many areas of the Barbados government.

    • Brien King
      Brien King July 23, 2016 at 4:19 am

      Is it any better where you live ???

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva July 23, 2016 at 4:21 am

      No tolerance starting with the laws. The judicial system as well as shelters, services for victims, including financial as well as protection.

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva July 23, 2016 at 4:36 am

      Once a woman calls the cops for help, it is no longer in her hands. The cops are the ones who lays the charges. The woman has no say in the matter. She has no power to drop charges. She does not even have to show up in court, charges will stay. Cops take pictures of any bruising, cuts etc. Women are usually taken to emergency and hospital records are used. Sentencing is pretty harsh for this crime. Once the woman goes to a shelter she is helped to regain her life. She is notified when the perpetrator is being released. The perpetrator is given strict no contact instructions. There is always follow up threw a Victims Services support worker, who keeps in close contact to help with emotional as well as financial support. So yes, domestic violence is taken very seriously.

    • Brien King
      Brien King July 23, 2016 at 4:41 am

      Generally that is the case here however, this article is mainly about the lack of funding and with things so rough with the economy, that is expected to occur. Even those who donate to this cause has cut funding. One has to be realistic in terms of the economy of an area or country, it is okay to state you want money to do a or b, but if the party can’t afford it, what are they to do ??

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva July 23, 2016 at 4:49 am

      No, this is not the case in Bim, not even close. The laws are not set up very well to protect women. Which is where it should start. Cases are not dealt with quickly. Just this week there was a case which was 4 years waiting for a trial and the woman said she did not want to pursue. It was thrown out. The man got off Scott free. There has been numerous cases where the women did not pursue and the cases dismissed. They are making cut backs on a shelter which was already in dire need of help and having to turn away battered women because of no room.

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva July 23, 2016 at 5:00 am

      I should also mention that domestic violence should be a priority. To blame lack of funding, economic times etc is proof right there it is not taken seriously or else it would be made a priority. Battered women, some who’s lives are in danger is not something that should have to depend on the generosity of citizens for funding. It should be the government’s responsibility to provide funding. The government’s priorities are arse backwards. They should be spending money on a woman’s shelter not celebrating 50 years of independence for an entire year. How can you possibly condone the lack of interest shown by the government on domestic violence?

  2. Donna Harewood July 23, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Domestic violence SHOULD be a priority also because of its far reaching effect. Children who witness the abuse and sometimes even the murder of their mothers may have problems becoming productive citizens. A stitch in time ALWAYS saves nine. This is really short-sighted on the part of the government.

  3. Alec Pierre July 23, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Brian King the ump said you were out of the crease, so leave the field. Maria Dasilva (a woman) obviously knows what she’s talking about. Don’t try to come back to the wicket by the back door (with permission requested to mix my metaphor)!

  4. BaJan boy July 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    @Brien King that stupid you ask about whether it is better where Marie came is so not literat you make a dog’s stomach puke. Are you so dumb to expect poor services in Barbados because it the same somewhere else. Wunnah ignorant DEMS continue to exhibit that stupid behavior at the expense of our people. It is better if you shut up as we all have seen how ignorant you are.

  5. BaJan boy July 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Maria you thinking is far too intelligent,sophisticated and forward thinking for this uncaring,arrogant,selfish,disrespectful and thoughtless Government. You will meet the like of Brien King along the way and we do just as did make your intelligent points and beat the idiot to the punch everytime.


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