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Team Addresses Gender and Family Violence

Members of Cayman's National Committee on Gender and Family Violence meet with Ministry representatives.

Back Row L-R: Melinda Montemayor (Ministry of District Administration Works, Lands and Agriculture), Alicia Jen Dixon (Department of Children and Family Services), Ania Milanowska-Sedgley (Cayman Islands Crisis Centre), Jennifer Ahearn (Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture), Joan West-Dacres (National Drug Council), Suzette Ebanks (GIS Marketing and Communications), Eric Bush (Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs); Middle Row L-R: Lisa Malice (Department of Community Rehabilitation), Chief Magistrate Nova Hall (Judicial Administration), Miriam Foster (Department of Counselling Services), Teresa Echenique-Bowen (Department of Community Rehabilitation), Sophia Chandler (Ministry of Education, Training and Employment), Kathryn Dinspel-Powell (Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs), Katherine Whittaker (Youth Services Unit), Aubrey Bodden (Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing); Front Row L-R: Tammy Ebanks, Hon Mike Adam, Dorine Whittaker and Debbie-Ann Whittaker (all of the Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing); Not Pictured: Michelle Miller (RCIPS Family Support Unit), Hazel Brown (Health Services Authority), Alan Jones (Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture), Anna Gracia Smith Joseph

The Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing announces the formation of the National Committee on Gender and Family Violence.

A report on gender violence, which was approved by Government in late 2008, identified the need to re-establish a national entity that would bring together a cross-section of key stakeholders to address gender violence and other related issues. A recent draft Crime Reduction Strategy report being compiled by the Cabinet Office has recommended the formation of such a committee as well.

Similar to the National Committee Against Domestic Abuse which operated from 2000-2003, this new team will bring a holistic focus to issues of gender violence, family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and stalking. Drawing its membership from a wide cross section of areas such as human services, education and youth services, judicial, police, rehabilitation, and marketing and communications, the committee consists mainly of government representatives but will be incorporating representatives from non-governmental organisations to subcommittees as necessary.

It will work on improving systems by providing recommendations to Government in relation to the development of policies, procedures, legislation, training, public education, and other responses to these important issues.

Each member is equipped with broad knowledge of the issues and the represented agency's role in the systematic responses and will serve for two years with an opportunity for re-appointment.

"Following an overwhelmingly positive response from the various entities involved, I am pleased to announce the names of the 17 qualified individuals who have committed to this initiative," said the Minister responsible for Community Affairs and Gender, the Hon. Mike Adam. "With the recent launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which seeks to eliminate gender-based violence, the timing could not be more significant."

Co-chaired by the Ministry's Senior Policy Advisor for Gender, Tammy Ebanks, and Senior Policy Advisor for Community Affairs, Debbie-Ann Whittaker, the committee intends to improve institutional responses and resources for victims and perpetrators of gender and family violence as well as to coordinate public education on issues of gender and family violence and other related matters.

This year's 16 Days of Activism campaign began on 25 November - the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - and continues through 10 December - International Human Rights Day - to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. This year's campaign theme is From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women.


For further information contact: Yvette Cacho