Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Teach conflict resolution at work and in communities

Bullying in schools is not Barbados’ only violent issue.

A clarion call for peaceful solutions to be taught across Barbados to replace the use of violence when seeking justice or satisfaction is coming from the Head of SAVE Foundation.

Barbara Goddard said: “Where men and women, boys and girls are becoming so physical with each other, there definitely is a need for intervention.”

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She was speaking to Loop News in light of two recent incidents involving violence which left two women injured, one man dead and another man in police custody. It is alleged that the incident, which ended in death for one party, stemmed from a domestic dispute while the second matter involved a gun and an alleged altercation between a man and woman. The incidents occurred less than 24 hours apart.

These events coupled with the almost daily reports of assault before the law courts have led Goddard to say that people, not just children, are now lashing out with a gun, or knife or other weapon to find their sense of right or justice to “feel better”.

She stressed: “We need to look at it now as a society. What are people holding on to? Why are they choosing to use violence instead of communicating and analysing situations? We need to start looking at emotional intelligence and the triggers inciting anger.”

She said that people are loosely using the term ‘stress’ but the things pushing people to violent lengths are “not new”, and that they need to be taught to cope.

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However, she said that though some schools are teaching conflict resolution now and in recent times, she explained that there must be a way to capture the lost generations who have already left school – those young adults beyond 18 years and below age 40.

A way must be found to educate them as well, Ms Goddard added. 

“If the school children are being taught, the people who have left school already, the young adult must be addressed. We must make sure that they get some form of education.”

She said: “The last two generations seem to have become quite detached, and are influenced by what we perceive in books, on the Internet, and see on TVs; getting a gun or weapon are solutions to resolve issues. It’s conflict now instead of conversation or discussion - it’s action!”

Goddard proposed:

“We need a plan that is far-reaching, outside of normal curriculum in schools and universities.

“We need offices, businesses, to send staff to conflict resolution courses.

“We need national conflict resolution workshops [in the communities] for those not employed as well. I know everything comes with costs, but we must see beyond the price tag and look at how people are handling and managing stressors.”

The SAVE President stressed that this “area really needs some work,” and speedily.


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