Call for police to get training in domestic dispute intervention

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The police have been identified agents who play an integral role in the handling of domestic disputes in Antigua and Barbuda. However, they appear to have been slacking off in that regard, according to Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall.

“In 2016, our government made some changes to the domestic violence legislation and within that we had inserted a clause that would allow the police greater power of intervention, so that if [they] were called to a situation of domestic violence they would have the power to assess the situation and determine if they needed one or the other party to allow for a cooling off period, and we find that sometimes the police are, for whatever reason, not willing to exercise that,” Marshall said.

As a result, the Social Transformation Minister has expressed the willingness of the Directorate of Gender Affairs (DoGA) in working along with the police to provide training on how to intervene in domestic disputes.

The training, according to Marshall, will give the authorities the capacity to remove victims from abusive relationships and will perhaps prevent unfortunate situations from occurring.

The decision came on the heels of a homicide in New Winthorpes on Thursday morning, in which 30-year-old Carissa Chandler was the victim.

That incident prompted comments from many social media users including, Minister of Lands, and wife of the country’s leader, Maria Browne, who used her Facebook page to address the matter.

Browne’s short post rightfully stated that “domestic violence is never out of love, and it is never okay”.

Similarly, on OBSERVER AM yesterday, Marshall added that there is a need for victims to speak out on even the subtlest sign of abuse.

“Sometimes we are in situations, whether male or female, and we know that it’s not right and there’s something wrong, but because of either embarrassment or sometimes we even believe it’s the norm because there must be some friction or something like that and we don’t speak out; we don’t seek the relevant help.“

Marshall also reminded the public that the DoGA has established a Support and Referral Center (SARC) and a special victim’s unit which is not just for dealing with sexual violence but also domestic matters.

Chandler was pronounced dead by a medical doctor at the Mount St. John Medical Center, shortly after she was allegedly shot by her boyfriend, 44-year-old Tedson Knowles who is presently in police custody.

The 30-year-old was the daughter of Cathy Chandler and Baldwin “Spliff” Anthony.

Anthony, in a recent social media post, said: “I want to say thanks to everyone who sent me best wishes, God Bless You all. Sweetheart daddy will always love you.”

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