Trini police launch Gender-Based Violence Unit

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) has launched the Gender-Based Violence Unit (GBVU), which is intended to manage cases of gender-based and domestic violence.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said during the launch on Tuesday (Jan 21) that the unit’s establishment was long overdue. Victims will be able to call or make report online to the Unit and specialists will be dispatched to the home. Part of the unit’s functions will also include sensitivity training for officers to properly treat with victims when they make reports.

Griffth said that the New York Police Department (NYPD), which will be providing the training, indicated that the police can expect to see a spike in reports of domestic violence as only a small portion of cases of domestic violence are reported. Griffith believes the expected spike will mean more women feel secure enough to come forward without fear of being shamed or sent back into the home.

He said that he recognised that part of the problem laid with how domestic violence cases are handled by authorities, including a lack of punishment for men who break protective orders and even how officers treat victims who report abuse.

“We have made mistakes but we intend to learn from our mistakes. With the es­tab­lish­ment of this unit, there is now go­ing to be a sys­tem of bet­ter lead­er­ship and bet­ter man­age­ment. We are go­ing to mea­sure per­for­mance, and we are go­ing to hold per­sons ac­count­able,” Griffith said.