by Linda Straker
- Social Development ministry officers following specific strict protocol to assist victims of abuse
- Several women seeking help not being honest in their reporting
- Police should be first point of contact for people in abusive relationships
Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas, has disclosed that officers in her ministry are now following a specific strict protocol to assist women who are claiming that they are victims of abusive relationships, because investigations have confirmed that several of the women who are seeking help, are actually tricking the system.
“While we know for a fact that there are many families experiencing abuse, we also are aware that there are people who will (maybe the relationship is not working one way or the other, and they want to move out) come to the ministry directly and say they are experiencing abuse,” Thomas said.
“Sometimes, our officers are so overzealous to assist because we know of the issue, we go ahead even without police intervention or no form of intervention, and decide we want to assist and then realise that some of these people were not being honest in their reporting, that they just wanted another place,” she told journalists during the post-cabinet news conference on Tuesday, 8 September 2020.
Thomas, who has served as the Social Development minister since 2013, said that sometimes the women making the claim just want to move on because the relationships are not working out and there is no form of abuse as alleged. “But they use that because there are programmes and we in the ministry are sensitive to the needs of the abused person,” she said. She confirmed that some of these women allow the men to move into the house that the ministry will provide for them as part of adjusting to life after an abusive relationship.
Recalling an incident in which a woman came into her office claiming abuse and both of them shared tears, Thomas said that it was later discovered that the woman was not only dishonest in her claim but the woman’s intimate partner was not even in Grenada at the time.
“So now we are saying that people must go through all the phases by having them go to the police first. If you are abused, let the police be your first point of contact… then the police reports to us. After all the investigations and we are sure, then we will help,” Thomas said as she explained the steps a victim of abuse must follow. “If there is abuse in your home, we urge you to report it to the police.”
She pointed out that government will do all that it takes to provide assistance to persons who are confirmed to be victims of abuse and abusive relationships.
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