Crisis Centre urges neighbours to act in abuse cases

| 07/03/2016 | 7 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre is urging people in the community not to give up on trying to help women who are in abusive situations, offering “sincere gratitude” to the neighbours of the late Nichelle Thomas “who repeated called 911 in response to what they heard going on in the house next door”, even though this did not prevent her partner from eventually killing her. However, the CICC said many women are saved because of people intervening. 

“Sometimes it is as simple as knocking on the door,” said CICC Board Chair Denise Gower. “As a member of the community, if you hear or see something that concerns you, call the police. Don’t just assume it is an argument.” She said domestic violence was a societal issue and the community must work together to stop “these horrible crimes committed every day by people that the victims love and trust”.

During the course of the inquest last week in the deaths of Thomas (21) and her boyfriend Devon Campbell, the jury heard that the police had been called to the home where they lived many times. On the last occasion before Campbell killed Thomas in a brutal machete attack, she had agreed to go to the Crisis Centre but tragically she never made it to the shelter and was murdered two weeks later.

“The police did give Nichelle our number at the CICC and she called to arrange to stay with us at our safe shelter,” Gower said. “We are terribly saddened that in the end she elected not to come to the shelter. People who come to our shelter do so voluntarily and each woman makes this choice for herself. Although her decision haunts us, we are comforted by the fact that last year 113 women and children sought and received safe shelter with us.  This is 113 times the story did not end as tragically as Nichelle’s – 113 people were protected and safe.

“We know that the police have a terribly tough job, especially when it comes to domestic violence. Oftentimes the victim does not want to press charges or to cause any more disruption. This complicates matters for police. We do understand that the RCIPS has implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to domestic violence, which states that they do not leave a scene without taking some form of positive action, whether that means removing the abuser, finding safe shelter for the victim, or some other positive action that provides for the safety of the victim, and filing a report,” Gower added.

Gower said that people will wonder why Thomas didn’t just leave Campbell and why it was she remained in such an abusive relationship. “There are a myriad of reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. On average, a woman leaves her abuser seven times before she finally leaves him for good. But the average number of times a woman is beaten by her partner before she leaves for the first time is thirty-five times.”

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Comments (7)

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  1. BL says:

    Urging neighbors to act is not the way to fight violence against women.

    RCIPS had received five reports of incidents involving the couple and nothing was done.
    No charges were ever levied. No arrests were ever made. No forms were ever filed with the police Central Referral Unit.

    What neighbors could have done?

    Who was supposed to levy charges? Who was supposed to make an arrest? Who was supposed to file forms with the police Central Referral Unit?

    There is THE PROTECTION FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW, 2010
    (LAW 33 OF 2010) in existence.

    Who is responsible for implementing this law? Where administrative regulations explaining how to put this law into effect and/or what a citizen must do to comply with the law are? Is there a written step by step protocol on how law enforcement officials must respond to domestic violence?

    Don’t blame victims for refusing to press charges. This law was passed to bypass exactly that -victims refusing to press charges, and go directly after a perpetrator.

  2. Question says:

    Has the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre ever been approached by men needing assistance/shelter? If so how frequently? It could be from an abusive wife, girlfriend, or if in homosexual relationship, their male partner.

    I’m just curious, because assault on men happens too.

    I suppose this may be downvoted as an attempt to discourage this kind of discussion, but hopefully those of us who want to know can get an answer. Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I have approached the Crisis Centre in the past, and was told that violence against men is a man’s issue, so I should try to resolve it myself. Their policy is they will not accept men.

    • Denise Gower says:

      Of the 316 crisis calls we received last year, 5 of those were from men. None of those men requested safe shelter, but rather were looking for someone to talk to. We do not have the facilities to accommodate men as we have a 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom house with entirely shared facilities, but we would seek alternative arrangements to keep a man who was looking for shelter safe. We are aware that there is violence against men and we are adamantly against all forms of family violence. We are trying to expand our services to include more people and are seeking funding to do that.
      Denise Gower

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s unfortunate that the crisis centre only advocates for assisting when there is a woman in need.

    This is a false statement “We do understand that the RCIPS has implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to domestic violence, which states that they do not leave a scene without taking some form of positive action, whether that means removing the abuser, finding safe shelter for the victim, or some other positive action that provides for the safety of the victim, and filing a report,” Gower added.”

    The RCIPS do not have zero tolerance policy towards this, and despite calling the authorities on several different occasions against my estranged wife, with clear signs of injuries, they have never pressed any charges against her despite my requests to do so.

    I’m sure a lot of people are going to dislike this comment, but the stats on domestic violence against men are usually skewed by “social groups” to fit the narrative that women are the only victims. There are no shelters for men, there is no community support groups, the RCIPS blatantly don’t care, the DCFS do not care, the family courts do not care, and DPP don’t care.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry you should not “just knock on a door” when there is a domestic issue going on. Domestic issues can be more volatile then any other situation. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!!! On the other hand, the RCIPS if they witnessed marks on this woman’s person they should have arrested and charged the guy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right. I would not advise anyone to go knocking on someone’s door if it sounds like a fight going on inside. If you really want to help call 911 from you house. The life you save might be your own

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