LONG OVERDUE, and a step in the right direction.
That is how the heads of three groups, which have been vocal in condemning domestic violence, have responded to the announcement by Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin that a Family Conflict Unit is to be established in the Royal Barbados Police Force to deal specifically with cases of domestic violence.
In addition to ordering an investigation into the April 30 slaying of 64-year-old Brenda Belle in Haggatt Hall, St Michael, for which the force has taken a severe bashing for the handling of the case, Dottin said the police will be taking a new approach to domestic violence.
Response to those changes has been swift and welcoming from the National Organization of Women (NOW), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Club of Barbados. The three organizations have also pledged to continue to work with the police in an effort to stamp out domestic violence in this country.
NOW president Marilyn Rice-Bowen said she welcomed the move to establish the special unit, which was long in coming. Rice-Bowen, who recently returned from St Kitts-Nevis, said the police force there had seen the wisdom in setting up a Sexual Assault Unit and it had been up and running for some time.