St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Cases of domestic violence are severely under-reported in St Kitts and Nevis.
That’s according to counseling psychologist at the Social Services Department in Nevis, Ivorcia Browne.
Social Worker Browne is concerned that too many domestic violence victims choose to suffer in silence to protect their own privacy, instead of reporting the incident so it can be appropriately dealt with.
She told WINN FM however, that some of those who have been abused in the home setting walk in on their own to the Gender Affairs Department to report the matter.
In many cases though, the Department only becomes aware of the individual problem when concerned relatives or friends report these incidents anonymously.
Brown has explained that the Gender Affairs Department provides assistance to victims of domestic abuse through counseling, and in some cases finding an alternative housing situation.
The matter is also reported to the police, so it can be adequately dealt with.
Domestic violence as defined by the law covers physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and psychological abuse.
The Domestic Violence Act 2000, which was amended in 2005, is the main law that governs incidents of domestic violence in the Federation.
The Act aims to reduce occurrences of the practice and aid domestic violence victims in legal prosecution.
Women are most often the victims of gender-based violence, but there have been some reported cases of men being abused as well.
The authorities have acknowledged the serious problem of domestic violence in the federation by organizing a Domestic Violence Protocol workshop as part of month long activities around the observance of International Women’s Day.
It is scheduled to be held on March 30.