Friday 20 July, 2018

National Consultation on Violence underway

Participants in the National Consultation on Violence. 
(Photo Credit: Richard Grimes)

Participants in the National Consultation on Violence. (Photo Credit: Richard Grimes)

Possible solutions to the crime and gun violence situation affecting Barbados are being discussed over the next two days among policymakers in crime, members of the judiciary and substance abuse experts, as part of the National Consultation on Violence.

The consultation is being led by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (CJRPU) and will examine areas such as the findings of a recent gang study, a profile of HMP Dodds and will also include working groups to discuss solutions with the goal of preparing a comprehensive document to be used by the Attorney General for policy formation.

Director of the CJRPU, Cheryl Willoughby, said the unit has already identified criminal risk factors critical to the development of young people and the plan is to concentrate resources in “hot spots” across the island where crime has been occurring frequently.

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite delivered the feature address during the consultation at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium today, where he told participants it is no secret Barbados has a gang problem which has been fueling gun-related crimes.

He gave the assurance that the National Consultation on Violence was not a “knee-jerk reaction” to the crime situation affecting Barbados, but rather one of the strategies being used to curb violence among the youth.

He said the consultation will provide the opportunity to reflect on what recommendations made in the past have or have not been working and allow the Ministry to come up with evidence-based strategy for tackling crime.

“Over the next two months the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit will be conducting qualitative research in hot spots across the Barbados. Gone are the days when persons come up with ideas based on a gut feeling and hopes that it corrects an existing problem.”

Brathwaite added crime prevention programmes based on empirical research findings are more productive and save the Ministry from wasting resources. This approach he noted, will allow the most vulnerable and at-risk groups to benefit.