The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on Thursday, launched its ‘survivor’s kit’ initiative, to assist women who may be forced to evacuate their homes because of an abusive relationship.
The launch forms part of the ministry’s ongoing 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
Human Services Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, said the initiative is needed to combat the growing social scourge.
“When people want to leave abusive, violent relationships, they’ll have a pack that has basic items. So, when they’re leaving, sometimes I know many of them leave with just the clothing on their back and they are thinking, how can they help themselves in that immediate moment, or in those immediate periods right after leaving,” Dr. Persaud said herLamaha Street office.
The care packages contain basic necessities including toiletries, towels, masks, and food items, among other things.
Fifteen (15) persons are currently undergoing training through the ministry’s survivor’s advocate initiative, to provide support and guidance to vulnerable persons.
At the launch, DPI spoke with several advocates who said the packages are a ray of hope for victims.
Advocate June [only name given] said the packages might be small, but they send a significant message to victims, letting them know that help is available.
“These care packages send a very strong message of hope. So, when the survivor gets this, this sends a message that somebody cares. The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security cares, there is help out there and there is hope for me. And this is what these packages represent for me. We know it looks like a small package, but it’s the message behind the package-that you will be held and we are here for you.”
Twenty-one-year-old, Ové [only name given], the youngest advocate, expressed similar sentiments.
“It is more than just simple packages, it is giving persons hope, it is communicating to persons that we care, we see what you are going through, we understand and this is how we are trying to help you.”
Another advocate, Ms. McLennan said the content of the packages will increase in time.
“It is something that is needed, it is a minimal something right now, but it has the potential to be something more, and I think that is what the survivor will look at. It is providing them with hope, that even if we didn’t leave home with anything, we will still get something.”
Meanwhile, the ministry plans to increase the team from 15 to over 30, to ensure every region has an advocate to help vulnerable persons.
Survivor’s advocates are accessible through the 914-emergency hotline. They are referred from the probation department and are stationed at the ministry’s regional offices.