Domestic violence: Women’s body recommends stringent rules of prosecution
Guyanese Women in Development (GUYWID) are of the view that the recent increase in domestic violence in Guyana, particularly the incidences of death of women, is beginning to sound like a broken record, playing the same tune over and over.
GUYWID believes that extreme circumstances necessitate extreme measures.
As such, a number of proposals have been suggested for some actions for urgent consideration.
GUYWID proposed that the perpetrator of violence should be prosecuted whether the victim withdraws the complaint or not.
“An act of violence against a person impinges not only on the rights of that individual, but also on the right of society to benefit from the contributions the victim would have made. The family suffers, the community loses and the nation is poorer either through total loss or curtailed ability to contribute.”
They also suggested that it should become mandatory for doctors and nurses to immediately document and report cases they suspect to be the result of violence, especially domestic violence and rape and that every emergency room at medical institutions throughout Guyana ought to have at least one counselor on duty at all times. It was explained that failure by medical practitioners to act accordingly ought to carry severe penalties.
GUYWID suggested that teachers must also be trained to detect early signs of abuse of children or of children living in abusive homes and that reporting any such cases to the relevant authorities of Human Services or Police must also be mandatory.
“It is time every school has a child counselor. Teachers must also bear some degree of responsibility for the welfare of children attending their respective schools.”
In a press statement, GUYWID noted that domestic violence is no longer only a “domestic issue”; it is also a workplace issue.
As such, they urged that managers and supervisors in both public and private entities be trained to detect signs of abuse among their workforce, since the productivity of a person, who is a victim of constant abuse, whether physical or psychological, will undoubtedly be affected.
They also called for rape to become an “unbailable” offence, as the recent release of persons accused of rape, including rape of a minor, “is a mockery of our legal and justice system. The penalties for rape in Guyana are ludicrous, GUYWID stated.
The Guyanese Women in Development also called on neighbours, church and community leaders to no longer continue with the “non interference” attitude as they are of the view that knowing, but not taking action on situations that they know or even suspect could lead to fatality, is almost equivalent to complicity.
“It is astounding to read what neighbours and family members say about the relationships between the victims and their killers AFTER the fact,” the statement noted.