Column: Susan Jackson On Domestic Violence

November 29, 2021

susan jackson generic OBA (2)[Opinion column written by OBA MP Susan Jackson]

During the most recent session in the House of Assembly, the day after the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, there was silence from our government.

Bermuda is experiencing a significant public health issue and if government is serious about protecting people, laws and policies must be strengthened to reduce the abusive behaviours we have been seeing.

Government has got to break its silence and pick up the pace to protect the victims from further harm. Domestic violence is destroying our families. We have children living with abuse and we must act with a sense of urgency and find solutions now to stop the violence.

There are gaps in the Bermuda Domestic Violence [Protection Orders] Act 1997 that need to be filled and areas where the laws need to be strengthened. When a victim is ready to report an abusive situation, Bermuda laws must be comprehensive and ready to support victims when they are most vulnerable. Community members have been calling for early intervention, simplified application for protection orders and increased public awareness.

One Bermuda Alliance Senator Robin Tucker, along with community activists have called for a domestic violence court. Reported cases should be managed by those who are trained to recognise and deal with the complexity of domestic abuse. Senator Tucker has also called for more private data collection to identify the kinds of abuses and assist helping agents to respond appropriately.

We regret that domestic violence in Bermuda has reached this point and our hearts go out to all the victims living in silence. As a government we must step up and make real progress in the protection of domestic violence victims.

- Susan Jackson

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Comments (2)

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  1. Vote for Me says:

    Domestic violence is definitely a ‘destroyer’ of Bermuda’s families of all descriptions. It is definitely not an area to try and score political points!

    Whilst I commend MP Jackson for raising the issue, her comments appear to be more aimed at scoring political points since she did not mention the personal testimony from Senator Lindsay Simmons in the last Senate session that took a lot of courage and stands as a personal commitment to eliminate domestic abuse.

    Senator Simmons subsequently penned an article on domestic violence and held several interviews where she undertook to lobby the Government for certain changes.

    One significant suggestion from Sen. Simmons was for complaints from victims to be followed through in a timely manner (irrespective if they subsequently change their mind) and for the elimination of any fees related to getting protection orders.

    I support anything we can do to stop domestic violence and hope this is an issue that avoids becoming a political football.

  2. watching says:

    Did MP Jackson not hear the heart wrenching testimony of Senator Lindsay Simmons? Did she not read the opinion column that Senator Simmons wrote? Whether the government spoke or not in the House of Assembly, it is clear the government did in fact speak on the issue.
    MP Jackson should know better and I would expect more from her than to use this issue in this manner.