Health & Wellbeing
JM | Oct 16, 2020

‘Jamaica’s first state-run domestic abuse shelter is ready’—Gender Minister Olivia Grange

/ Our Today

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Minister of Gender Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has assured that preparations are in a very advanced stage for Jamaica to open its first, state-run shelter to house victims of domestic abuse.

Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters, speaks with Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange during a tour of the island’s soon-to-be-operational domestic abuse shelter. The facility, which will not have its location revealed for security reasons, is the first of several shelters to be built by the Jamaican government for women and their families. (Photo: Twitter @Babsy_Grange)

On a tour of the facility, which will remain secret for security purposes, on Thursday (October 15), Grange remarked, “The place is nice and clean and ready, except for one and two things.”

Ministry Grange, accompanied by Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters, further explained that the establishment of national shelters for women seeking to leave violent relationships has been one of her ministry’s primary programmes.

The undisclosed facility was built on lands purchased by the Jamaican Government in 2018. According to Grange, the property has since undergone a significant transformation to ensure the shelter is suitably built to house victims of gender-based violence and their children.

“We are fine-tuning some protocols in terms of the operation, just to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. In the meantime, we’re ready, we can take in – I would call ‘clients’ – and take care of a family,” Grange said.

“We actually have most of the rooms ready. There are just two unfurnished rooms,” she continued.

Another two properties have been acquired by the Gender Ministry, which it says will both be transformed into shelters for victims of abuse. A timeline for the roll-out of these facilities was not immediately revealed.

Minister Grange argued further that the shelter would not have been possible if not for the kind support of the European Union and the Canadian Government.

“The former EU Ambassador [Malgorzata Wasilewska] and Canadian High Commissioner [Laurie Peters] have been very much involved in our efforts. The EU Ambassador has left bu the Canadian High Commissioner [who] will be leaving soon, wanted an opportunity to see where we were in this effort,” she noted.

For her part, High Commissioner Peters called the shelter a step in the right direction for the country.

Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Cayman Islands, Laurie Peters. (Photo: Twitter @DrNigelClarkeJA)

“I am delighted to be here with Minister Grange today at this the first of several nationally funded women’s shelters. We all recognise, Canada in particular, that the importance of having safe spaces for women and their families,” she said.

“We have seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressures on families as they are in isolation and none too soon is this a timely undertaking and I’m heartened to see that it has space and the capacity to be able to welcome women and their families,” Commissioner Peters added.

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