Domestic violence statistics alarming in Jamaica

As efforts continue in advancing the reform of the justice system, the Ministry of Justice is calling for all Jamaicans to assist in easing the high level of domestic violence affecting the nation.

During the launch of the 10th anniversary of the Victim Support Unit (VSU) in Portmore, St Catherine, it was revealed that since 2005, 22,739 cases of violence were seen by officers working from the 13 VSU offices in Jamaica. Of this number, 13,979 victims were females, while 8,760 were males.

There were 9,625 incidents of domestic violence in 2007, a 29.2 per cent rise over the previous year, according to the latest edition of the Economic and Social Survey. Approximately 4.4 per cent of last year’s national murders were attributed to domestic disputes, a 0.1 percentage-point decline over 2006.

“Women are more vulnerable to become victims of violence, as the seven groups which fall under the VSU are rape, carnal abuse, incest, attempted rape, indecent assault, domestic violence and murder,” said Carol Palmer, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

“It is for this reason why females continue to suffer,” she added.

The VSU’s work in bringing healing and closure to victims of crime was commended, particularly in a touching testimonial from a victim whose husband was shot and killed during a robbery.

The 10th anniversary celebration is part of the continued drive for restorative justice, where the victims of crime can play an active role during the trial and sentencing of an accused person and even after the completion of the sentence.

http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080721/lead/lead6.html

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