There are organizations throughout Jamaica that may provide emergency support services, including counseling and shelter to victims of domestic violence with children. Please call the Helpline at 1-800-598-7607 for information on available services.
The Office of Children Registry (OCR) is responsible for receiving, recording and assessing reports of child abuse and referring them to agencies for investigation and action. Data from the OCR reveal that over 60,000 cases of child sexual abuse were reported up to 2015.
It is our duty as Jamaicans to make a report to the OCR if we suspect a child is in danger or is being abused. Please call 1-888-PROTECT (1-888-776-8328) or (876) 908-2132, (876) 822-7031, (876) 878-2882, (876) 618-5888, (876) 631-8933 and (876) 631-8908.
Persons can also complete a reporting form and submit it to the OCR’s head office at 12 Carlton Crescent, Kingston 10, or fax to 908-2579 or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safe Families Collaboration
The JCADV will provide referrals to programs in the community that assist children, youth, and families involved in domestic violence cases. For more information contact the Helpline: 1-800-598-7607.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a four-level social-ecological model to better understand violence and the effect of potential prevention strategies. This model shows the complex relationship between the individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. It helps us to understand the factors that put people at risk for violence or protect them from experiencing or perpetrating violence. The overlapping rings in the model illustrate how factors at one level can influence factors at another level. Also, the model suggests that to prevent violence, it is necessary to act across multiple levels of the model at the same time. This approach is deemed effective to sustain prevention efforts over time than any single intervention.
The first level identifies biological and personal history factors that increase the likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. Some of these factors are age, education, income, substance use, or history of abuse. Prevention strategies at this level promote attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that prevent violence. Specific approaches may include education and life skills training.
The second level examines close relationships that may increase the risk of experiencing violence as a victim or perpetrator. A person’s closest social circle-peers, partners, and family members-influences their behavior and contributes to their experience. Prevention strategies at this level may include parenting or family-focused prevention programs, mentoring, and peer programs designed to reduce conflict, foster problem-solving skills, and promote healthy relationships.
The third level explores the settings, such as schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods, in which social relationships occur and seeks to identify the characteristics of these settings that are associated with becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. Prevention strategies at this level impact the social and physical environment – for example, by reducing social isolation, improving economic, and housing opportunities in neighborhoods, as well as the climate, processes, and policies within school and workplace settings.
The fourth level looks at the broad societal factors that help create a climate in which violence is encouraged or inhibited. These factors include social and cultural norms that support violence as an acceptable way to resolve conflicts. Other large societal factors include the health, economic, educational, and social policies that help to maintain economic or social inequalities between groups in society.
1. Dahlberg LL, Krug EG. Violence-a global public health problem. In: Krug E, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi AB, Lozano R, eds. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002:1–56.
Risk & Protective Factors
In-depth knowledge and understanding of the risk and protective factors associated with the social-ecological model is used to create primary prevention strategies of domestic violence.
For an example of risk factors, knowing that young people are at high risk for partner violence
We can focus on educating and skill building about healthy relationships
For an example of protective factors, is economic independence. To reduce the likelihood of someone becoming a victim or perpetrator of relationship violence we can increase financial literacy in our communities.
Creating social change is necessary to bring awareness and cultivate individuals and communities that do not tolerate violence and support healthy relationships and gender equality. It is important for all sectors of society to collaborate and change the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to the problem of domestic violence. Change is a gradual process that requires communicating, practice, skill-building, training, and researching to find more creative ways to bring about awareness.
Domestic violence is a public health and safety issue and therefore, leaders must identify the root causes of behaviors and create safer and healthier homes by promoting positive messages and interactions.
A public health model and the JCADV's approach to prevention recognizes that prejudices such as racism, sexism, and classism, can promote domestic violence. Understanding this oppression and destroying these institutions of hate and segregation can create a positive society that values each person and does not tolerate any form of violence because of individual differences.
Teen Dating Violence Prevention
More is needed to educate children and teenagers on abuse. It is necessary that the JCADV will lobby for laws in Jamaica that requires that every school educate all staff and students about the dynamics of abuse and have a policy on how to respond to incidents of dating violence. Some ways educational leaders, school administrators, teachers, youth-serving professionals, and community-based organizations can support healthy relationships between children and teenagers is to:
● Engage schools with multiple forms of support.
● Report the incidence of teen dating violence among key policymakers
● Help schools identify and implement existing evidence-based programs and promising strategies that support the development of healthy relationships among teens.
● Consider the “takes a whole village to raise a child” approach by collaborating across sectors.
● Work across multiple levels of the Social-Ecological Model (i.e., individual, relationship, community, and society) to initiate and promote prevention strategies that address multiple forms of violence, including bullying, sexual violence, and teen dating violence.
● Health and Wellness Committees of local school districts should elevate the issue of teen dating violence and the promotion of healthy relationships as critical elements of the district’s Health education vision.
The JCADV works with the media to spread awareness about Domestic Abuse and Violence. There are services and resources available, and there are ways we can all get involved to help prevent and end abuse.
The JCADV conducts public awareness campaigns throughout the year to keep the issue of Domestic Violence visible in Jamaica and to engage Jamaicans in saying "Enough is Enough!" Together, WE CAN END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.