Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
As the Family Support Network (FSN) continues to battle to stay above the water financially, it is still moving forward with plans to sensitize the community as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month which commenced on October 1.
Liana Cross, Acting Director of FSN, said as the organization plans activities for this month, they continue to battle with their major project of sensitizing the community about the negative effects of domestic violence.
"To get people talking about domestic violence because the reason why a lot of these cases go unreported is because people don´t even realize first of all that they are in a domestic violence situation, and if they do realize that they are in a bad situation they don´t believe that they can get help."
She added,"We need to get people talking, and let people know that it really is a blight on society and from there we can go about to sensitive police, social services...Because a lot of people who have gone out to get help have been denied help...A lot of people in society have the attitude that it's not my problem...Training people to get rid of that mindset."
Cross, who along with Gail Lettsome is volunteering at the organization, said educating their clients that love should not hurt.
"To educate them, they cannot change the abuser, they may want the abuse to end, they may want to remain in the relationship because they love the person but love is not enough, love does not hurt, we have to train them to understand that...It´s safer to get out of the situation," she stated.
Asked about the role FSN can play to educate alleged abused victims who are often time found asking the courts to drop the charges against their alleged perpetrator, Cross said the new Domestic Violence Act which will be proclaimed later this month will help to address that issue.
"The new domestic violence act that is going to be proclaimed later this month is actually going to help with the situation as well. Where if there is a case of domestic violence, physically especially, the police are obligated to arrest, charges pressed and go to court. So even if the victim says I don´t want to press any charges even though the man gave her a black eye, they have no choice charges will be pressed because it will be recognized as a crime..."
She added said in relation to when it reaches to the court and the victim asks for the charge to be dropped, it will be done easily.
"The charges will not be dropped immediately like that anymore, but again the big part is education...We can only hope for the best," she said.
Meanwhile, in relation to activities planned for this month, there will be a fundraiser 'Dancing With The Stars' hosted by Tortola Ladies Club, Governor Boyd McCleary and Mrs. Jenny McCleary at the Government House on October 26.
There will also be a fund raising event outside Scotia Bank on Thursday and several visits to schools and churches to spread the word about the domestic violence act and what domestic violence is.
FSN is a non-Government organization whose primary aim is to aid individuals, couples and families affected by relationships that are unhealthy, including but not limited to domestic violence, or any form of abuse in intimate partner relationships.
According to the organization, the mission of FSN is to strengthen individuals, couples and families through education that leads to prevention, support to those in crisis and rehabilitation through counseling and networking to those who desire to change.
The 24 hour help line is 499-0999; FSN office 494-7622; or you can email them at email@example.com.