Victim and Witness Support Unit Aisha Corbie, left ASP Joanne Archie, centre, and Supt. Claire Guy-Alleyne of the Gender-Based Violence Unit dressed in Orange for the16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence at the Police Administration Building

The Gender-Based Violence Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service says there has been a slight decrease in domestic violence cases this year, in comparison to last year. Officers have also noticed a decline in domestic violence-related murders for 2021 as opposed to 2020, when there was an alarming number of intimate partner killings.

But while the GBVU has welcomed the slight decrease in murders and cases, it said reports of domestic violence among the migrant population living in T&T have been on the rise.

Speaking during a media conference yesterday, Gender-Based Violence Unit head, Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne, said, “We have had a lot of reports coming through the TTPS App and online reporting so we are seeing an increase in reports and we want to encourage the public to continue to do that. If they see something, say something.”

She added that the number of domestic violence-related murders have dropped when comparing last year to this year.

“When we look at stats, January to November, we saw a drastic decrease in women killed via domestic situations. Last year around this time, we had about 24. To date, we have 12 (male and female). Eight females and four males,” Guy-Alleyne said.

While there has been a decline in some aspects, Victim and Witness Support Unit manager Aisha Corbie said more people are seeking assistance from the support unit. She said in 2020, they saw 899 victims while from the start of this year to date they accommodated 858 people.

“We have seen some increased numbers since COVID-19 yes, but it may also be due to the fact that there is greater confidence in coming to make reports because of the advent of the GBVU, which coincided with the same time of the pandemic in 2020,” Corbie said.

“The greater percentage of persons seeking assistance from the VSU has been for assault and assault-related matters, usually physical assault.”

Guy-Alleyne said herself, ACP Cooper and Insp Bridgelal visited the New York Police Department, where they saw firsthand how officers in the United States treat with such cases.

“We are imparting that knowledge to our counterparts. We also have the training academy with a new training course called Gender Responsive policing to train the GB officers as well as the wider officers of the TTPS.”

Guy-Alleyne said many victims, even after contacting the police, are fearful for their safety, and they are taken to shelters run by government agencies and NGOs.

“So we have secret shelters not really known to the public, where victims will be taken care of for a period of time before transitioning them back to society.”

Guy-Alleyne said the TTPS will be actively participating in the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which will see officers wearing orange and supporting the cause. She said the TTPS will also use the period to increase “bringing a wide awareness to the public to let them know the services available from the TTPS…so victims and family members know where to turn to.”