There has been an increase in domestic violence cases on the island. Secretary of the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine indicated this during the division’s recent weekly update.
“Since 2020 in Tobago, and since the onset of the Covid-19 virus, we have been seeing a rise in the number of reported cases to the TTPS (T&T Police Service),” she said, adding that 2020 figures revealed an increase of 312 cases over 2019, and 2021 is shaping up to continue the upward trend.
“Although all of the statistics aren’t in for 2021, when one takes a look at what has happened in January, we are seeing 19 more cases in January 2021 compared to the previous year,” she added.
Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, occurs in a home setting, inclusive of marriage or cohabitation. It can take on many forms, such as control, isolation, verbal abuse, e.g., threats and blame; emotional abuse such as intimidation; economic abuse where one partner is forced to give up their pay cheque, fight for money for essentials such as groceries and take out loans or is subject to other financial mistreatment; sexual abuse; and physical abuse which could lead to death.
The Health Secretary made an appeal to victims to come forward in order to get the necessary assistance.
“Report it. There is help within the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development,” she said, “We appeal to you to come forward for counselling and other support going forward.”
Services at the division include counselling and emergency relief support. For help, contact the Gender Affairs Unit at 639-3395, ext 47214.