As actuaries, and as human beings, we are all very much aware that domestic violence occurs everywhere: in all countries, all cultures and all social strata.
Despite the International Women’s Conference in Mexico City in 1975 which then led to the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), known as the “Women’s Bill of Rights”, domestic violence was not addressed globally until 1992 when CEDAW issued a recommendation that identified domestic violence (as well as rape, trafficking for prostitution, certain traditional practices and sexual harassment) as discriminations covered by the Convention. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was passed by the UN in 1989. These, and similar guides from the OAS and others, are fully recognised in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
But really, how much do these conventions and statements, or even actual laws, affect perpetrators of domestic abuse? We’ve certainly all read enough, and sometimes seen for ourselves, the brainwashing that occurs in toxic relationships which sometimes leaves the victim emotionally unable to leave. “He really loves me”, “he pays all the bills”, I have nowhere to go”. It is often up to clear-thinking friends and family members to step in: offer positive advice, help the victim find a job or somewhere safe to go.
If domestic violence is already a problem in a relationship, coronavirus sheltering might make it even worse. Abuser and abused spend more time together and there may also be economic hardship from being laid off.
Domestic violence against women and children is often unreported but there’s an even more unreported side: “No one will believe me”, They’ll laugh at me”. According to the New England Journal of Medicine* one in ten men are also victims. Germany now has a hotline specifically for male victims. Here’s one man’s story.
Suggested additional reading:
- IADB: HOME NOT SO SWEET IN TIMES OF COVID19
- UNDP: No safer place than home?: The increase in domestic and gender-based violence during COVID-19 lockdowns in LAC
- NEJM: *A Pandemic within a Pandemic — Intimate Partner Violence during Covid-19
- Sage Publications: The Development of the VP-SAFvR: An Actuarial Instrument for Police Triage of Australian Family Violence Reports
- Stellenbosch University, South Africa: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and mHealth: The Frontiers of the Prevention of Violence Against Children
- Research Gate: An Indepth Actuarial Assessment for Wife Assault Recidivism: The Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide
If you suspect someone you know might be a victim of domestic abuse, here are some regional hotlines:
- Jamaica: 876-553-0372 or 876-929-2997
- Trinidad: (868) 800-SAVE (7283)
- Barbados: (246) 435-8222 or 253-5071
- Bahamas: (242) 328-0922
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Your News Team: Shubhash, Betty, Pedro and Brian
The views expressed above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, standards or policies of the CAA. The CAA assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of content contained in any linked site.