Centre Against Abuse invites the community to recognize October as Domestic Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
A spokesperson said, “Centre Against Abuse [CAA] provides support services to adult survivors of intimate partner abuse and sexual assault; and we bring awareness to the community on these topics. Since the Covid pandemic, CAA has worked diligently behind the scenes to improve support services for domestic abuse survivors in Bermuda.”
“Domestic Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month is the perfect time to share with the community what CAA has been doing since the pandemic, and how we have been working with our community partners to create a cohesive, supportive, and helpful Bermuda system for survivors,” said the executive director, Laurie Shiell.
Mrs Shiell stated, “In February 2021, after a great deal of research on services that support ending domestic abuse, CAA contacted Safelives, a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, who work with organizations to improve their responses. We held several online meetings with the Safelives team and a work forward plan for Bermuda was developed.”
She went on to mention, “In October 2021, an introductory meeting was held with the newly appointed Police Commissioner, Darrin Simons. It was at this meeting that CAA’s executive director shared with him the plan with Safelives. The Police Commissioner readily supported this initiative, and he also garnered the support of Minister Tinee Furbert, and the Bermuda Police Service and the Department of Child and Family Services provided the financial support to have the first whole systems review of the response to domestic abuse in Bermuda. During August and September of 2022, a domestic abuse survey was conducted by Safelives on the system-wide local landscape. Some of the results of this survey revealed:
- Over 13% of the female population in Bermuda have experienced abuse in the last 12 months.
- 27% of the female population in Bermuda have experienced domestic abuse in their lifetime,
- Estimated 13% of men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
Additionally, Mrs Shiell is delighted that a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference [MARAC] was established in April 2023. The core team for MARAC includes CAA, Bermuda Police Service, Department of Child and Family Service, and Ageing and Disability Service. This team meets regularly to review the highest risk domestic abuse cases in Bermuda with the aim to:
- Better safeguard survivors
- Address the behaviours of perpetrators
- Make connections for public protection arrangements
- Safeguard agency staff
“Another important benefit of a MARAC is that for every $1 spent on MARAC there is at least $6 of public money saved annually on direct costs to agencies such as the police and health services,” a spokesperson said.
Mrs Shiell commented that, “Another recommendation from this survey was for a commitment to increase domestic abuse awareness among professionals focusing on developing a shared understanding and language around domestic abuse and ensuring that survivors feel believed when they seek support.”
She stated, “CAA is committed to providing training in Bermuda to bring awareness to domestic abuse and to assist the community with understanding their role in helping to end domestic abuse on our island. During the month of August, CAA provided training to 114 frontline Police Officers on Responding to Domestic Abuse. In October CAA will be training the staff at the Department of Child and Family Services. Each training is designed for the specific needs of the organization.”
“This year CAA has assisted just over 100 clients from January to the beginning of October. Additionally, we have also kept safe 144 children attached to our clients, for a total of just over 244 people. Also, this year, we have educated 272 individuals with our training programmes, and have brought awareness of domestic abuse to thousands of others in the community through our various media spots [radio, television, newspapers, social media, etc].
“CAA invites you to join us in working toward making domestic abuse a thing of the past in Bermuda. You can do this by having CAA provide you and your organization with domestic abuse awareness training. We provide training from youths through seniors. Together we can create healthy relationships through domestic abuse awareness and prevention.
“You can contact CAA on 292-4366 or via email email@example.com. Facebook and Instagram pages.”
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