Initial Police intervention is now required before the Ministry of Social Development and Housing can provide housing assistance to women in abusive relationships.
“If there is abuse in your home, we urge you to [first]report it to the Police, who will then report to us,” disclosed Minister of Social Development and Housing, Hon Delma Thomas, during last Tuesday’s (September 08) post cabinet briefing.
This change in protocol towards assisting women alleged to be in abusive relationships comes following the discovery that many of them have tricked the system, lying to officials to say they are in abusive relationships, only to get housing assistance.
“While we know for a fact that there are many families experiencing abuse, we also are aware that there are people who will (maybe the relationship is not working one way or the other, and they want to move out) come to the Ministry directly and say they are experiencing abuse,” shared Hon Thomas.
Admitting to the previous weakness in her Ministry’s protocol, Minister Thomas noted that “Sometimes, our officers are so overzealous to assist because on hearing of the issue, go ahead even without Police intervention or any form of intervention, … [only to] realise that some of these people were not being honest in their reporting, that they just wanted another place to live.”
Thomas, who has been Minister of Social Development since 2013, released that these women make false reports of abuse because they wish to move on because they are no longer happy in the relationships.
She said, “But they use that because there are programmes and we in the Ministry are sensitive to the needs of the abused person.”
The Minister shared that in some cases these women thereafter allow the men to move back into their lives into the house provided by the Ministry.
Attesting to the dishonesty of some women, Minister Thomas recalled an incident where a woman visited her office for assistance due to abuse. She shared that she even cried with the woman, only to later learn that the woman was dishonest and that her intimate partner was not in Grenada at the time.
“So now we are saying that people must go through all the phases by having them go to the police first. If you are abused, let the Police be your first point of contact…then the Police report to us. After all the investigations and we are sure, then we will help,” Hon Thomas said, committing Government’s support to assist women confirmed to be in abusive relationships.