Jamaica opens shelter for abused women

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – The first of three national shelters being established by the government for women who are victims of abuse and their children is now operational.

The shelters form part of the government’s efforts to provide support to women and children impacted by gender-based violence, as well as other forms of abuse.

Jamaica’s Gender Minister, Olivia Grange, made the announcement in Parliament last week.

“With the budgetary support of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, we have purchased three properties to be transformed into national shelters, and the first property, after significant refurbishing and reconstruction, has been transformed into a safe and comfortable facility to house women who are victims of abuse and their children.

We are now open and ready to take our women in who are being abused,” she said.

“The facility will accept clients even while we continue to receive donations to make it more comfortable and build out our programmes to help women to rebuild their lives and get back on their feet,” the Grange added.

Grange said women who needed the facilities of the shelter or expert advice should contact a 24-hour hotline .

She also said that two other properties are in early reconstruction and/or refurbishing stages and will be transformed quickly into safe spaces for women. One is in the east of the island and one is in the west”

The minister lauded support groups and organisations that provided assistance to women and children who were impacted by domestic violence.

“We know that several women stay in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on the man. That is why we have made women’s economic independence a special programme; we have now introduced it as a priority programme.”

Through the programme, she noted, women would be equipped with skills and other resources to run successful businesses and “to be on their feet as independent women”.