Get professional help before it’s too late!
This was the advice given by Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob yesterday, as he lamented how the T&T Police Service is now being bombarded with numerous domestic reports.
His comments came two days after primary school teacher Amar Deobarran chopped his wife Omatie to death at their South Oropouche Trace, Barrackpore home and then took his own life.
In late February, another Barrackpore man, David Sookram, chopped his 30-year-old wife, Vashti Suraj-Sookram, then committed suicide.
Jacob, in an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, said the police have been inundated with domestic reports.
“Domestic violence and these family situations have been occurring over and over and I have been making the plea for people to get the right advice and support when they recognise there are challenges in relationships and within homes,” Jacob said.
He also spoke about the double suicide of Steve Jugmohan and Sharlene Ramkissoon, who hanged themselves two weeks ago because of mounting financial debts.
“Last week, I visited the home of a family in St Charles village where we had the double suicide. We have had murders and suicides and other matters involving family and relationships. Some of us who are elders, priests, imams and other persons in society go in the direction of giving advice. But sometimes the advice is traditional and is not in congruence with the thinking of youths today,” Jacob said.
Asked to elaborate, Jacob said sometimes, people are advised to stay in abusive relationships for the sake of children or to keep abuse secret so that the family reputation is not affected.
“Don’t rely on the traditional thinking. You might be a priest or imam and people come to you for advice. You should do some training and get to understand how to do mediation and counselling,” Jacob said.
He noted that families must get professional help when they realise that domestic problems are getting worse.
“Seek out the professional people who are trained in counselling and social work, the psychiatrist and psychologists who can assist,” he added.
Jacobs said the TTPS Special Victims Unit has been hiring civilian staff to assist due to the rise in domestic problems.
“When things are identified we can go and assist but it’s only so much we can do,” he lamented,
He noted that 140 murders per year are the direct result of altercations and 50 per cent are because of intimate relationship violence.
“We have a problem and we need to deal with it. Focusing on the gang situation will not help at all. We have something inherently wrong in society. We are constantly asking people to come on board. We have serious challenges in communities and within families,” Jacod admitted.
Jacob said the people within a community also play a valuable role in reporting abuse and domestic problems. He could not give exact statistics but said minor domestic reports and squabbles between neighbours were “numerous.”
“Eighty-five per cent of reports we attend to are minor reports and that’s why we appreciate the group of attorneys who are going from community to community to deal with minor matters. It takes a lot from police to deal with these reports,” Jacob said.
He said the mediation centre at St Joseph Police Youth Club was currently doing an excellent job, but added, “We need to do more in order to help.”
Jacob said the police, through its legal department, is also training police officers to legally deal with quasi-civil matters. He said training for such reports will also be introduced at the Police Training Academy so officers are better able to deal with these reports.