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ASPIRE talks new police statistics: More men reporting domestic abuse
There is an increase in the number of men making reports of domestic abuse by women. This was revealed at yesterday’s launch of Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive (ASPIRE) Research Findings and Woman of the Year Award in Port-of-Spain. Retired Assistant Police Commissioner in charge of Community Relations, Margaret Sampson-Browne, who now heads the Victim and Witness Support Unit, was named as ASPIRE’s Woman of the Year.
The organisation’s chairman, Attorney Lynette Seeberan Suite, said despite the increase, the figures are not an indication that more women are becoming violent towards men but rather men are finding a voice to speak out. According to statistics compiled by the Crime and Problem Analysis Unit (CAPA) of the Police Service for 2010, 322 men made reports of domestic violence. The following year that figure increased drastically as there were 807 reports made by men.
Seeberan Suite, who said this is a case where more men are becoming more empowered, added: “More men are coming to the court to seek remedies in a situation of domestic dispute.” She said a protection order could be sought for a broad variety of relief and not only for protection against assault.
“It could also be used for regulating relations within the home, access to property, occupation of the home and to regulate prescribed behaviour within the home,” Seeberan Suite explained. According to Capa’s 2010 statistics, there were 1,404 domestic related offences ranging from murder/homicide, to child abuse and abandonment, to breach of protection orders. For 2011 that figure almost doubled as 2,312 offences were recorded.
Statistics also showed that more women were being beaten by their partners, as between 2001 and 2011 assault by beating increased by 37 per cent. Assault by beating also carried the highest figures for both years as in 2010 as there were 849 reports and 1,242 were recorded the following year. There was also a disturbing upward trend in the category of verbal abuse, as in 2010 there were 282 reports, while for 2011 that figure skyrocketed to 780 reports.
Contrary to the popular perception that people of East Indian origin are more prone to domestic violence, data showed otherwise. In 2010, 563 domestic violence incidents were recorded which involved Afro Trinidadians, while there were 590 reports involving East Indians.
For 2011, there were 908 incidents involving Afro-Trinidadians while 863 matters were recorded which involved East Indians.
In further analysis of these particular categories, ASPIRE’s Programme Officer Crystal Brizan said: “Contrary to popular perception, women of Afro-Trinbagonian descent either suffer more from domestic violence or are more likely to report it.” She said, however, this was “raw data” as there is no real indication that a particular race is more prone to domestic violence.
“More protection orders were also breached, going from just 26 in 2001 to 157 in 2011. “The data does not indicate whether the percentage of orders breached has risen, since it may well be that more women are now applying for them,” Brizan said. Brizan said the issue of protection orders must be critically examined, and it is especially important to scrutinise what kind of protection is afforded a person in a domestic violence situation and what is needed to strengthen that particular legal mechanism.
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