…reports concentrated in Regions 3, 4
Since the establishment of the 914 hotline last December, a whopping 197 reports of domestic violence and child abuse were reported to the relevant authorities.
The hotline is a toll-free number, operated on a 24-hour basis for persons to raise issues on various forms of abuse and violence throughout the country. This mechanism has been supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud at a press briefing on Friday related that of the 197 reports, 158 were related to domestic violence and 38 to child abuse.
“We have been receiving a number of reports. We have actual reports totalling 197…In terms of reporting, we had one child making a report directly. In terms of the cases where child reports came in, they were done by adults, usually persons outside of the situation and that’s a good thing because it means people are being vigilant and they’re taking the issue of child abuse very seriously,” she highlighted.
From a breakdown, the highest number of calls came from Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica), with 36 and 113 respectively.
Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) followed with 18; Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) with 14; Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), five cases; nine cases in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); three in Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
There were no reports from Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
The Minister further stated that in response to calls, immediate intervention is sought to assist victims in their respective situations. The children-related reports were forwarded to the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) while those related to domestic violence were referred to the District Probation Offices for further intervention.
According to Minister Persaud, the hotline is also open to report issues of abuse of the elderly – a common occurrence in society that is often disregarded.
“We’re bringing a lot of attention to elderly abuse because it is something that happens and many a time, it is not spoken about and so we want to say to the elderly persons out there, 914 is also for you. Don’t think it’s only for children or specific cases of violence. Elderly violence is out there and it can be anything from neglect to actual physical violence to even sexual violence that is perpetrated against elders,” she appealed to the population.
Presently, 17 officers are controlling the hotline network but the Ministry is working to increase their human resources capacity. Later this month, a gender-based violence referral app will be available for both android and iOS systems, linking people with all services offered by the Ministry.
“It is taking information and using it in such a way that it is helpful to people across the country. It is also tapping into a population of young people who always are using their phones. This is our way of complimenting the movement to dealing with violence and abuse.”