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Govt backs NGOs to fight violence against women
The Ministry of Gender Affairs is leading the efforts to ensure “sustainable support and provision” for T&T and the Caribbean’s first sextuplets, says line minister Marlene Coudray. She said so yesterday while speaking at a brunch and award ceremony to commemorate International Women’s Day at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
“Our family services have visited the family and we have been approaching different agencies as well as ministries for support,” Coudray said. However, she said she could not give specifics as to what kind of help would be given. Coudray also pledged Government’s further support to NGOs to fight violence against women and children. “We have a project to be launched soon with United Nations women to train key persons, such as policemen, to deal with women,” Coudray said.
She said whenever women went to report abuse to the police, they were not treated seriously. “Another hotline is being developed so people can have more access to help,” she said. At yesterday’s award ceremony, 11 NGOs, including shelters and halfway houses, received awards. “The recipients of these awards provided a place of shelter for women and girls in abusive situations,” Coudray said.
“Government cannot allow such extraordinary work to go unrecognised.” She said the Government was committed to the eradication of violence against women and girls but could not do it alone. “We need every one of you, whether organisations or individuals to play your part. Ending violence is not an option but a priority to us all.” She said T&T had a major problem with young girls getting pregnant, then being abandoned by the fathers of their children.
“Fathers abandon these girls, refuse to maintain the children and then families have to resort to the legal system to get support. Some of these girls choose to abandon school and their education,” she said. Coudray said the society had a responsibility to change this cycle. “These men impregnate minors. This is a crime and it is abuse. Where is the response of the authorities?
“We must take the lead and make these men responsible for their actions.” She said the ministry had submitted proposals on early marriage to the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
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