GREAT BAY – Safe Haven Foundation Managing Director Cassandra Richardson met with Justice Minister Rafael Boasman and Benjamin Ortega of I-Novus last Friday to discuss the upcoming events surrounding the awareness campaign to eradicate domestic violence. The event themed “Fatherhood, Eradicating Domestic Violence: the need to father with purpose and love” is part of a series of educational events coordinated by Safe Haven.
During this meeting the parties expressed the need to promote, collaborate and eradicate domestic violence in St. Maarten.
The Minister gave workable solutions to the various examples that we are facing in the community with regards to violence and in particular the crimes being committed by young men. Richardson commented that the link between domestic violence and youth criminality is not a farfetched one.
“Children who grow up in dysfunctional homes where (physical and verbal) violence is experienced consistently are susceptible to using violence as children and as adults when they become older,” Richardson said.
In response and acknowledgement to social initiatives being done on the island but that are struggling to find synergy, Minister Boasman commented, “working together is great, yet ensuring that all processes and procedures are in place to successfully complete and stimulate the various initiatives are just or even more of an importance.”
The meeting ended with the minister’s commitment to advocate and encourage departments like the police, immigration, customs, and prosecutor’s office. Minister Boasman said that he will attend the lecture.
Richardson gave details of the process of Safe Haven’s directives and challenges. She also shared plans on how the justice ministry and in particular police and social agencies can work together to better the process of safeguarding people affected by domestic violence, including the most vulnerable — the children.
Benjamin Ortega recently signed a memorandum of understanding for three years with Safe Haven explained the working relationship and the importance of getting the community involved in not only this initiative but stopping domestic violence through showing and doing better in the community.
The fatherhood lecture is scheduled for August 23 at 6 p.m. at the port. The keynote speaker is Wendell De Leon from Trinidad, a former police officer who acquired his Masters of Social work degree and has credentials as a behavioral therapist. De Leon’s key interest is that of fatherhood and working with disenfranchised youth and helping families to build stronger and positive family structures.