Support and Referral Centre gets assessment

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Antigua and Barbuda has continued to garner support from the United Nations Women (UN-Women) group whose recent evaluation of the Support and Referral Centre (SARC) revealed the organisation’s success at helping residents of the island.

After scrutinising the operations at the centre this week, Pennelope Beckles, President of UN Women Executive Board said they recognise how important the facility is to the country.

“They have asked us to do our best for the facility to remain as well as to expand some services…we spoke to both men and woman and we also toured the facility so we were able to see that it’s a one stop shop and we also spoke to the police as well so clearly it’s a facility that’s needed,” Beckles said

In a press conference yesterday, representatives from the executive body revealed that they conducted evaluations this week at the Directorate of Gender Affairs where they met with officials and members of the public who utilise the facility.

Beckles said that the facility has been an evident success because a number of people have expressed their desire for it to continue running.

In addition, there were other executive members present at the press conference to include: Katalin Annamária Bogyay, Vice President UN Women Executive Board representing the Eastern European Group; Koki Muli Grignon, Vice President UN Women Executive Board representing the African Group and Marwan Ali Noman Al-Dobhany, Vice President UN Women Executive Board representing the Asia-Pacific Group.

Minister of Social Transformation, Samantha Marshall who was also present, shared her desire for expanding SARC and developing a greater relationship with UN-Women.

“We would like to expand the additional services that we would like to provide to give greater support to victims. We hope that in their report that they will consider giving us assistance because we can’t do everything on our own. The whole aim is that we will develop closer partnership with UN-Women and that they will be so satisfied with what they have seen, the investment they have made in Antigua and Barbuda that they’ll be encouraged to work even closer with us moving forward,” Marshall said.

SARC has been open since June 2017 and features separate spaces for police interviews, one-on-one counselling, medical examinations, and a child-friendly space for children of clients.

The centre offers free services to men, women

and children “that will encourage and promote a holistic approach to treatment, healing and individual’s overall mental and physical health”.

The construction and equipping of the SARC were made possible by the United Nations Trust Fund Project to End Violence against Women & Girls and further support from the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean.

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