Almost two-thirds of female population are abused – Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo is the chief abuser
Almost two-thirds of female population are abused – GPHC Official
OCTOBER 11, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
It is believed that almost two-thirds of the female population suffer from domestic violence and are attended to by health officials. This figure could represent a significant shortfall of the actual case as all health officials may not be equipped with the relevant investigative skills to determine certain forms of domestic violence.
This assumption was recently offered by Consultant Anaesthetist attached to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr Vivienne Mitchell, in an invited comment to this publication.
Dr Vivienne Mitchell
“We think it is about 67 percent of the female population that are abused, but there is not enough good data, and so we don’t know all the patients who are really suffering from domestic violence…
“We have not been able to do enough good studies to precisely pinpoint what were domestic violence and what were not.
“A woman might come in with burns and she might die and it might be treated as a suicide or an accident but we did not investigate to find out what really was the cause…if it was indeed intimate violence.”
A recent seminar which came as a result of the Georgetown Public Hospital collaborating with the United States-based Vanderbilt University, was geared at helping health workers and other relevant officials to discern the subtle forms of domestic violence, the likes of infidelity and verbal abuse.
This move, according to Dr Mitchell, comes as part of the efforts to help stem the rising scourge of the social challenge which occurs between intimate partners.
Vanderbilt University, according to her, has been working along with the Public Hospital for some time now and “they have all of these innovative teaching methods that we can use to improve the way we deal with this problem.
“I had concluded a long time ago that adults cannot be taught because if you tell them one thing they still go back and do the same thing over and over, but with the Vanderbilt experts on board, I think their methods will prove to be effective.”
The support is especially needed in the health sector, she added, since there is no doctor in Guyana who is a domestic violence specialist. And there are already plans apace to ensure that such educational programmes are sustained, as according to Dr Mitchell, a grant proposal has been submitted to the Global Fund.
“The Vanderbilt people are just here to get us started…it’s a trainer of trainers thing we are doing here and then we will have our own programme where our people will be doing the training…”
The programme comes as part of efforts to complement measures that are already in place to address domestic violence.
According to Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Guyana has one of the most advanced Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Act in the Caribbean. He pointed to the fact that Guyana has pioneered the Domestic Violence Act within the Caribbean and in recent times has amended the Sexual Offences Act to make it more contemporary.
In addition, following a ‘stamp it out’ campaign that was conducted from 2006 to 2008, Guyana introduced a new Sexual Offences Act.
“We are in the process of implementing these Acts…There are responsibilities across sectors…all the different sectors, security, human services, health, education, we all have responsibilities under these Acts.”
But although the Ministry of Health has been working very closely with the various concerned organisations such as the Ministries of Human Services and Home Affairs in implementing the Acts, there are still obvious gaps, thus the need for continued educational development, Minister Ramsammy said.