Seven battered women have sought the assistance of a non-governmental organisation within the past two weeks after walking away from abusive situations.
Revealing they had been approached by victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse, to provide temporary shelter, president of the Organisation for Abused and Battered Individuals (OABI), Sherna Alexander-Benjamin, called for greater public and private sector partnership to assist such victims.
Disclosing the information during a cheque handing-over ceremony at One Woodbrook Place, St James, yesterday, Alexander-Benjamin explained that while they had been able to provide shelters for all of them, they were challenged to provide additional accommodations for their children as many of those places were only set up to cater for the adult victim.
She said that was one area in which they were seeking additional assistance in the form of apartments or housing which could facilitate a victim and her children.
Declaring that domestic violence was not a new situation but one which had become popularised due to the advent of social media, she said the OABI was founded in 2008 and launched in 2011 to help people like herself, as she boldly announced that she had been a childhood victim of sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
As a result of her work in that area, she said serious gaps had been identified in the healing process as there was a serious lack of "safe spaces" for victims and there was the issue of "revictimisation" as the affected person was made to recount their tale of abuse continually to various authorities.
She said while the US and Europe could quantify the amount of money spent to assist victims of abuse, which was estimated to be around $800 billion, there was no such system in place in T&T.
According to the United Nations, one in every three women will experience some form of abuse during their lifetime.
Alexander-Benjamin said the OABI had launched its Zero in Three project to reduce this number to zero as they get set to roll out a series of events over the coming weeks as the world celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25.
Managing director of Fortress Security Services Ltd, Carlos Neptune, said the ten-year-old company had chosen to partner with the OABI and the Women's Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as "it was an issue close to our hearts."
Claiming that 55 per cent of its staff are women, Neptune said their commercial operations had resulted in hundreds of women seeking escape from abusive situations.
He said alarming statistics revealed that during the period August 2015 to July 2016, over 56,000 matters of domestic violence had been brought before the courts.
Reaffirming his company's commitment to eliminating violence against women and children, Neptune said the company hosted its first run/walk on August 6 at the Queen's Park Savannah, following which the proceeds, amounting to $10,287, were donated to the OABI to help assist victims of abuse.