CARICOM, UNFPA successfully launch regional network to improve support for survivors of GBV

Speakers and representatives of implementation agencies at the launch of the ESP CoP

A more coordinated approach to the provision of services for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) is expected in the Region with the establishment of an Essential Services Package (ESP) Community of Practice (CoP) mechanism under the Spotlight Initiative.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted a regional launch of the ESP CoP on Tuesday, 24 May, in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The ESP/CoP is the first GBV coordinated mechanism of its kind in the Caribbean and aims to provide survivors with greater access to essential and quality services provided by the health, social services, police and justice sectors.

In her remarks at the opening, Alison Drayton, Director of the UNFPA Sub-Regional Office of the Caribbean (SROC), highlighted that GBV disproportionately affects women and girls. She said that “while prevention lies mainly at the perpetrator’s hands, a number of these incidents (including deaths) can be prevented by service providers, who, with the proper training and resources, will be able to mitigate risks, protect survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”

Speakers and representatives of implementation agencies at the launch of the ESP CoP on Tuesday 24 May at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Trinidad and Tobago

Ms. Drayton also underscored the need for collaborative efforts to brainstorm ideas, develop effective solutions, exchange good practices, adopt global standards and facilitate south-south cooperation in the prevention and response to GBV, and noted that the ESP CoP would provide an avenue for that.

Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat in his opening remarks commended the Spotlight Initiative’s mechanism noting that it is a practical tool for countries setting a clear pathway on how to ensure the provision and coordination of quality services for victims of gender-based violence.

H.E. Peter Cavendish, EU Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, reiterated the importance of coordinating efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls.

“This pervasive and complex problem needs a multisectoral response from our governments. That is why the European Union has welcomed the creation of a regional community of practice around essential services to be provided to all women and girls who have experienced or are experiencing gender-based violence including health, psychological, social, and justice services,” the Ambassador stated.

Mrs. Sharon Clarke-Rowley, First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago in the keynote address described the event as an important milestone for the Caribbean.

“We have a responsibility to protect those women and children who are most vulnerable. We must be our sister’s keepers,” the First Lady stated.

The Spotlight Initiative is an international and multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

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