The newly constituted Gender-Based Violence Unit (GBVU) in the T&T Police Service (TTPS) reports that already, it has started getting calls from persons needing their assistance and are working on cases.
Head of the Unit, ASP Claire Guy-Alleyne, promises that persons coming to them for assistance, will meet officers who are sensitive to their trauma.
Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, ASP Guy-Alleyne confirmed that disciplinary action will be taken against any officers who fail to treat a victim and their complaint with seriousness, sensitivity and professionalism.
She assured that the 30 women and men serving in the unit who are spread out among the nine policing divisions in Trinidad and Tobago, have been trained to handle such cases.
“The men and women of this unit were specially trained in how to deal with domestic violence victims. No longer should persons be ashamed to come to the police officers,” she stated.
“We are trained to listen to them, counsel them, and advise them. We take them through the entire process—from reporting their situation, to the court stage.”
The unit’s manager, Shireen Pollard, says sensitivity training will be given to officers to ensure as well, that men who are victims of domestic violence, have their reports taken seriously.
Pollard said they have designed the reporting process to reduce the amount of further trauma to which a victim is exposed.
“What we are trying to do is reduce the need for them to have to come in to a police station, because that in itself could be traumatic,” she explained.
“Reports can be made by the TTPS App, or by calling 999. An officer from the Gender-Based Violence Unit will get the information and go to the victim.”
She says the meeting itself can take place at the victim’s home, or another location if their home is not safe.
Shireen Pollard also confirmed that the unit will network with other police divisions such as the Child Protection Unit; and core agencies like the Children’s Authority, to protect children caught up in domestic violence situations.
She said each case will determine which agencies and divisions will be called upon to provide additional support and protection to victims.
“If we feel like a victim needs additional support, we will refer them to the Victim and Witness Support Unit of the TTPS,” she said. “That unit will work in tandem with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as well as CAISO (Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation). We’ve had several meetings with the Office of the Prime Minister’s Gender Affairs Division,” she reports, “because they are responsible for the shelters, both monitoring and operating. So, we will be working closely with them to see what is available to our victims.”
A special memorial will be held on Saturday at 10 am in Woodford Square, for all those killed in domestic violence situations, for the year.