$114.9M in legal aid assistance for domestic violence victims

A sum of $114.9 million has been allocated in this year’s National Budget for the contribution of legal aid services for domestic violence victims. This was announced by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh during his budget presentation at the Arthur Chung Convention Center on Monday.
Government’s contribution to support legal aid services increased to $114.9 million, which saw 7,597 persons benefitting from legal services in 2022. Other key initiatives included the opening of a new Child Advocacy Centre in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and the launching of a parent manual to promote child development knowledge and non-violent methods of discipline.
Additionally, two domestic violence shelters will be opened later this year. Together, these two shelters will cost a total of $27.3 million, and will provide the needed refuge for women and children fleeing violence.
Further, the Government will continue to support Help and Shelter, given the services they provide to women and families fleeing domestic violence. The sum of $56 million is allocated for this. These all come under the Government’s no-tolerance approach to tackling violence in all forms.

“Since taking office, we have focused on numerous interventions to curb gender-based violence in our country, which are also aligned with guidelines set out by the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women,” Singh remarked.
“While Guyana continues to work towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, efforts will be intensified toward tackling the prevalent social issue of violence against women and girls. We are committed to ensuring that Guyana is safer for all women to live, work, and enjoy a good quality of life,” he added.
In addition, the Government has implemented a number of measures that play a significant role in combatting domestic violence. These initiatives include the “914” 24-hour hotline, the iMatter app for immediate reporting of violence, and the COPSQUAD2000 initiative which saw over 1,476 Police officers being trained to deal with domestic violence-related matters, among other interventions.
Also, the Survivor’s Advocate Programme, which is linked directly to the hotline, is used to provide counselling services to victims of abuse.