Over 600 Sign “Save The Safe House” Petition

September 23, 2014

[Updated] Over 600 people have signed the “Save The Safe House” online petition in support of the Centre Against Abuse [CAA], with the petition calling for Government to commit an annual grant of at least $200,000 to the CAA, and to develop and fully implement a comprehensive action plan to end domestic violence in Bermuda.

The petition’s text says, “Locally our police service responds to approx. 75 domestic abuse reports monthly. In Bermuda 1 in 3 people have been physically abused– a damning 33% of the 2011 population.

“Over the last 25 years Bermuda has seen close to 25 people killed due to domestic violence. 90% of all female homicides in Bermuda are domestic violence related

“… and these are only the reported figures. Domestic abuse is a major social problem that is often unreported, especially by men who fear not being taken seriously.

Jennifer Attride-Stirling take the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the Centre Against Abuse:

“Recently CAA received a call from a former client who said that if it were not for us she would be having her birthday behind bars. Because when she came to CAA she thought her only way out was to kill her abuser.

“Prior to September, battered women and their children knew that they could go to Bermuda’s only safe house for victims of domestic violence run by the Centre Against Abuse [charity # 146].

“Last year alone, the Centre Against Abuse [CAA] helped more than 120 women and the safe house offered shelter to 31 women and children. Nearly 100 clients have received assistance from CAA so far this year.

“But due to a critical shortfall the safe house was closed at the end of August; as an already low government grant was tragically reduced and private giving being substantial decreased during the year.

“The Centre Against abuse is also concerned that it may have to discontinue its other invaluable programmes which include: hotlines, counselling, community education, court advocacy, and resettlement services.”

The petition asks people to sign in support asking Government to commit to the following:

  • [A] Support the Centre Against Abuse through an annual grant of at least $200,000 that will urgently help to save the safe house
  • [B] Develop and fully implement a comprehensive action plan to end domestic violence in Bermuda, outlining how they will work to end domestic abuse in Bermuda through comprehensive legislation, policy, and action plans.

Well known local entertainer Mark Anderson, aka Sybil Barrington, recently walked the length of the island in a bid to raise money for the Centre Against Abuse, walking from Dockyard to St. George’s on September 18th.

As Mr. Anderson walked across the island, some locals stopped their cars to donate money, handing him cash and cheques, and the entertainer has asked people to make a donation, big or small, to the Centre Against Abuse’s HSBC account #010 284 636 001.

To sign the petition click here, and for information about donating to the CAA online click here.

Update 11.32am: Minister of Community, Culture and Sports Wayne Scott said that while additional funds have not been allocated at this time, that does not mean that additional funds will not be made available in the future.

“Let me repeat what I said a few days ago,” the Minister said, “so that there can be no misunderstanding of the Government’s position. At this juncture, it is our aim to work with the Centre and other helping agencies overall to find viable solutions to ensure that they have the appropriate resources necessary to service the public.”

The Minister added: “Government is examining both short and long term solutions. In the short term, we are looking to see whether we can divert funds from other areas. This is not easy and is not the best solution, as other equally important Ministry functions would suffer.”

Since discussions are ongoing and work behind the scenes continues, the Minister said, it would be “counter-productive to discuss in detail what is being considered and the solutions that are being analysed.”

The Minister promised to keep the public apprised of developments.

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Comments (33)

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  1. WhistleBlower says:

    This is where CSR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY comes into play!! Oh! I forgot this is not popular with corporate Bermuda!!

    Sad sad days ahead for Bermuda!!

    • hmmm says:

      They were receiving a 100,000 grant which was reduced to 75,000.

      Now they need 200,000 ? I’m confused. Blaming the government for a 25,000 reduction when they need 200,000 is a little disingenious don’t you think. We all know that the money isn’t there, and we all know that if it was then they would gladly not just give support and advice, but the money too.

      I commend the CAC for the work they are doing. Perhaps the fund raising efforts they make today can continue on to keep them viable.

      WRC and CAC must have some overlap that can reduce the costs for both. If it means giving up the reigns to save the facility, then give up the reigns.

    • Strike fund says:

      1 Beyoncé concert = 20 years of Govt. grants.

      What about Govt. Social Responsibility??

    • Happy says:

      Seriously? All the events our corporations sponsor and the cleanups they do around the island and you are trying to call them out on being socially responsible?

      • WhiistleBlower says:

        If they are doing CSR why are you claiming they aren’t????

    • Sooooo says:

      WhistleBlower.. Dude, if it wasn’t for Hiscox, MJM, BofB and many other Companies the CAA (Physial Abuse Centre) would have closed years ago.
      I’m more interested in finding out what percentage of theose donated dollars go to pay Managemet and fundraising efforts?

      • WhistleBlower says:

        So if these companies incorporate CSR What is your point??? Duh!! Some people are so Quick to respond with anger they can not get out of the trees to view the forest!! Do you even know what CSR IS???

    • Tough Love says:

      Not just unpopular with Corporate Bermuda, but the OBA isn’t doing a good job socially either.

      • SMH says:

        Hard to do anything when all you were left to work with was $2B in debt and an unsustainable sized civil service. What part of that aren’t people understanding? THERE’S NO MONEY LEFT FOR ANYTHING AND WE’RE HAVING TO BORROW TO SERVICE DEBT…kept repeating this until it’s understood

      • hmmm says:

        You just completely ignored the fact that Business in Bermuda donates millions and time each year to charities and social activities and that the employees of business donate their own money and time too.

        OBA is doing a great job socially. They have a negative balance, but still managed to grant 75,000 to this charity . A small reduction from 100,000 granted the previous year.

        • Tough Love says:

          You are correct. I did ignore that fact. I know corporations do more, so I called for them to help in a later post.

  2. StillThatBS says:

    This is a sad situation….

    Where will these women, children and man turn, if they have no where else to go??

    Bermuda Gov, stop giving up on your people…..

    I know what it’s like to be at the mercy of a monster.

    No woman, child or man should have to experience abuse.

  3. Jonathan Dill says:

    This is a community problem that only a community can solve. Yes more money may help but the bulk of the funding should come from the Bermudian people. I really hope that the folks signing this petition have already donated time and/or money to the CAA. I hope they are also willing to make yearly commitments to CAA.

  4. I read recently that there may be a merging of similar charities / groups, personally, I do believe this can help considerably. There are many seeking out assistance from different organizations that are basically serving the same cause/s and these types of “charities” should come under one umbrella.
    As much as some organizations believe its the Govnts. responsibility to cover their “needs” the reality of the matter is, “it is not Govnts responsibility”. Charities are just that, “charities” and they should be given “X” amount of dollars from our Govt. but not to be the sole resource of monies to operate charities…Instead, here is where the public are able to assist by making donations to the charity directly; or there can be a day each year for a fund raiser like ticket or what-have-you as we see happening with other “charities”.

  5. Tough Love says:

    While I agree and have signed the petition, I wonder aloud if $200,000 is too much. If we take government an unreasonable number, they will reject it. Would $100,000 not suffice? Remember, as the OBA is going to respond, there is no money, or “money doesn’t grow on trees”.

    I’m not trying to be the bad guy, but trying to be wise. The gov’t grant isn’t supposed to cover all expenses. Where are all the corporate sponsors? XL, Ironshore, Digicel, CellOne, Gibbons Co, HSBC, Butterfield Bank, Clarien Bank, Argus, BFM, et al. This is something worth sponsoring. We can do this Bermuda, together we can!

  6. Rockfish#2 says:

    The OBA needs to look at ways to reduce it’s wage bill, and spend more funds on these types of problems. They have no problem with allocating huge sums of money to the Bermuda Tourism Authority, while ignoring the very top heavy management team, which seems to grow at an alarming rate.

    The corporate sector in Bermuda are for the most part very generous, but must cringe when Government continues to spends money in such a reckless manner.

    • hmmm says:

      But they have paid less to the BTA than the old department of Tourism used to cost.

      • Rockfish#2 says:

        There was more money available at that time.

        • Rockfish#2 says:

          Our social problems have also increased, hence the need to deal with them as a high priority.

          If we don’t will we continue to be an attractive destination for visitors?

          • SMH says:

            Time to wake up and smell the coffee. The PLP spent over $2B (our current debt) so there’s NO money left. People can kick and scream about social programs and how unfair it is all they want but stop blaming the people who are trying to fix the mess and start blaming the ones who put us in this mess in the first place. Do honestly think the OBA or any sane government wants to reduce pension for old people and social programs etc? THEY HAVE TO BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE! The question is why they have no choice?

            • I hope people read this letter of yours SMH…it’s so true! We all are in debt, whether you want to believe it or not:-(

  7. positivity says:

    CAA’s request for $200 000.00 is not too much. The government should be assisting with the welfare of its people. The safe house needs to be open. Simply going to a friend’s house is not a safe solution and in many cases jeopardizes the safety of those trying to help. If you’ve never experienced the fear then you won’t understand the dire need for the shelter.

  8. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    The safe house is a critical investment in Bermuda and should be protected, however the trouble I have to sign this petition comes from the second point in it. How does one end domestic abuse? This is a serious question, because in all honesty, there isn’t anything government can do to end it. They can put tougher penalties in place, but how do you stop something that is a human condition that can rear it’s ugly head at virtually anytime, anywhere. We can try and screen for victims, but unless every victim comes forward, the government can’t help them all. Domestic violence is primarily about power and subjugation and as it is most often practiced outside of public view, it is virtually impossible for government to act. When any domestic violence case is almost entirely a he said/she said it becomes very difficult for any legal system (this isn’t a local problem but is found in every legal system where action is taken) to be able to successfully try the case. We are a very small island, so it is nearly impossible to expect government to be able to protect all the victims, without turning them into prisoners themselves. Its not like they can be hidden by being moved across country like in larger nations, it such a small country as ours, it really isn’t that effective. The biggest part of the problem is that the perpetrators know this, the victims know this and this is why it often escalates to horrendous results.
    This is why the CAA is important and government should step in to do what they can to help the organization remain active, but please do not expect them to solve our social ills. The plain and simple fact is that no government in this world can action plan or legislate away someone from giving into the worst of human nature. All they can really do is work with local organizations to help victims.

  9. Micro says:

    Maybe if we closed that money bleeding clinic…

  10. Just a matter of time says:

    Civil Service staff numbers have increased under the OBA…

  11. JONO says:

    No money for Physical Abuse Center, but there were many hundred thousand dollars spent at the Taj Mahal at the west end couple years ago.

  12. Liftoff says:

    THE PLP SPENT ALL THE MONEY!

  13. CommonSensenBda says:

    When did the Government announce all the monies it had for all the folks who requested funds for this fiscal year?

    The budget came out in February, did it not?

    When the Physical Abuse Center learned that it’s funding from the Government was cut by $25,000, what steps did the PAC initiate to secure ADDITIONAL funding?

    NONE , NADA , ZIP-OH , ZILCH.

    No attempt at fundraising until they had actually started to run out of funds this summer when all other charities had started since last year to solicit funds.

    But wait…. I remember where they can get the $200,000 the now say they need for the remaining three months of this year, my suggestion is the implore the “Sandy’s 360″ folks to part with some of the cash they have in their pockets. After all, they are charging membership fees from the private sector and yet they also received more than a million dollar subsidy this year!

    Surely the P.A.C. is so much more important than a gym with a pool, right?