Barbados Cabinet Approves the Establishment of a Data Collection Protocol on Gender-based Violence


The Cabinet of Barbados gave the green light to the recently developed data collection protocol on domestic violence and stakeholders are expected to begin using it by August, 2008. Supported by UNIFEM, the Bureau of Gender Affairs developed the protocol because of an identified need to monitor the impact of policies and programmes employed in the fight against domestic violence, as well as to establish incidence and prevalence estimates.

Barbados' current data collection systems are inadequate due to under reporting, under documentation, administrative incapacity and a lack of appreciation for the use of statistics in the policy formulation and monitoring cycle. Mr. Hollingsworth, Head of the Bureau, pointed out that the primary source of data was from police records, while some were also garnered from the hospital. But, he noted, in the case of the law enforcement, that information was only used to apprehend and bring charges against the perpetrators, while data from the hospital were used to determine and provide optimal patient care.

The use of the protocol will allow for a more integrated response to the needs of victims and the treatment and punishment of perpetrators as well as for a better understanding of the profiles of victims and perpetrators of gender-based violence, the causative factors and at-risk groups. In addition the information derived may suggest correlations between domestic violence and other socio-economic and cultural factors.

The organisations that will use the data collection protocol are the Welfare Department, the Poverty Alleviation Bureau, the Ministry of Health, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Probation Department, the National Task Force on Crime Prevention, the Emergency Medical Clinic, the Business and Professional Women's Club, and the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners.

Barbados is a signatory to the 1979 Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination against Women and the 1994 Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belem do Para).