Foreign language training for 914 hotline operators

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The Human Services and Social Security Ministry will be offering foreign language training for operators of the 914 emergency hotline, which was established to provide services to victims of abuse.

Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud made this statement in an interview with DPI, even as she expressed her disappointment at the fresh spate of violence against women, the most recent being the brutal attack and rape of a Venezuelan migrant.

“Because we are now conscious of the needs of migrants, we saw in the news that there were some difficulties because of the language barrier, we are going to work to have at least two of these operators speak Spanish or Portuguese so that we can extend these services to those persons who need it.”

Persaud explained that the 914 hotline aims to provide services to all persons, including migrants. The hotline was created so that individuals, including victims of domestic and sexual violence, could call for assistance or report incidences of abuse.

The Survivors Advocates Programme, she said, is linked directly to the 914 toll-free number. Through that programme, victims of abuse could access psychosocial support and counselling.

“Then there are women who are living in habitually abusive situations, they may have children, they may not have the financial wherewithal, they may not have skills, so then comes the programme where we are working to equip women with technical, vocational skills training and even functional literacy. These women can access this by calling 914,” Persaud said.

Additionally, the Government has significantly increased the subvention to the organisations providing safe spaces and shelters for women. Fifty million dollars was budgeted for those entities.

A court superintendent department would also be established with a cadre of lawyers to lead prosecutions in each regional division for cases of domestic violence. Public engagements and campaigns will also be executed throughout the year.