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Missing a trick - Abusive men not getting the help they need to change

Published:Thursday | December 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson

There are increasing concerns that Jamaica's efforts to address domestic violence are being stymied by the failure to target men who are the main perpetrators.

Joyce Hewett, executive director of advocacy group Woman Inc, is adamant that not enough resources are being placed on ensuring the well-being of men in the homes.

"It takes money, it takes resources, and the resources are limited as far as we are concerned. We don't have the ample resources to sustain what we would like to sustain," Hewett told The Sunday Gleaner recently.

Responded to claims that too often, help is offered to female victims and not the male perpetrators who may be struggling with mental-health issues, Hewett said that Woman Inc makes efforts to provide help for the males who might be the abusers.

"We have instances where we can convince the men to come in to the Crisis Centre. Some of them actually do come in and get counselling," said Hewett.

But she noted that the intervention with the male perpetrators could be restricted based on the level of domestic abuse is in the relationship.

"You have some situations that are at the extreme end already and you have to be cautious in how you deal with them," added Hewett as she admitted that her organisation does not have the capacity to deal directly with cases when the men are the victims of domestic abuse at the hands of their female partners.

That was underscored by Peter Weller, clinical psychologist and one of the developers of the Partnership for Peace Programme - a local and regional psychoeducational approach which works with domestic violence perpetrators in an effort to preventing them from repeating.

"Resources are allocated to the work with women because women are the primary victims, and any discussion about how men need to be helped must be had in the context that the women are the main victims and men are the main perpetrators," Weller told The Sunday Gleaner.

"This domestic violence is about the abuse of power and the power dynamics. It has to do with the culture and society and beliefs.

"It also has to do with the issues of self-awareness, self-control and anger management. In all of that, coping with stress, is another variable," added Weller.