News Releases

UWI symposium to identify gaps in Domestic Violence Policies

For Release Upon Receipt - April 9, 2019

St. Augustine

An IDB study conducted with 1000 women across Trinidad and Tobago in 2018 indicated that one in three women has suffered from violence at their hands of their partners. But are some of these people slipping through the gaps of our domestic violence policies? These figures prove the need for stronger, more effective laws to protect victims and combat the domestic violence epidemic. The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus intends to serve as a catalyst to strengthen policies and social services for supporting persons who experience domestic violence in an upcoming symposium that is being hosted by The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS). The symposium entitled “Deepening the Dialogue: Strengthening Domestic Violence Policy and Charting a Way Forward” will be held on Thursday 11 April, 2019 from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm at The UWI Learning Resource Centre.

Although many of the strategies to prevent domestic violence have been ongoing for some decades, The FSS recognises that there is still a lack of reliable evidence as to what works, where gaps exist and what are the possibilities for strengthening policies and services. The aim of the symposium is to activate discussions which will inform and support the Government in strengthening public policy on domestic violence. Participants can look forward to panel discussions, presentations, academic posters, network meetings and a special roundtable discussion aimed at forwarding an integrated approach in developing public policy and promoting sustained government and community actions to be effective in addressing the issues.

The FSS, in recognition of its role as a major stakeholder in education and research on social issues, will use the symposium to draw a cross section of professionals, policy-makers and service providers to share experiences, identify gaps and chart a way forward to strengthen domestic violence policies. According to Professor Ann Marie Bissessar, Dean of The FSS, “Domestic violence, some may argue, has reached crisis proportions in Trinidad and Tobago. The 2018 International Development Bank (IDB) National Women’s Health Survey revealed that over 100,000 women in Trinidad and Tobago are estimated to have experienced one or more acts of physical or sexual violence. In 2017, 52 women were murdered, 43 of these deaths as a result of domestic violence. The symposium, for the first time in the history of The UWI and the country as a whole, will bring all the partners involved in preventing and minimising domestic violence under one roof.”

The Dean also emphasised that domestic violence and intimate partner violence are experienced by both females as well as males, “Indeed, in 2014, 1423 incidents reported were by females and 508 incidents were reported by males.  What is clear, though, is that incidents of domestic violence are grossly under-reported. Over the years, there have been attempts to curb this kind of violence which borders on barbarism. Yet, the incidents continue to climb.”


The FSS extends a special invitation to the media for the following event: 

Deepening the Dialogue: Strengthening Domestic Violence Policy and Charting a Way Forward

DATE: Thursday 11 April 2019

TIME: 9 am – 3:30 pm

VENUE: Learning Resource Centre (LRC), The UWI, St Augustine 


Pre-registration for the symposium can be completed at:




Notes to Editor


Presenters & panel members at the symposium include:

·         Professor Ann-Marie BissessarDean of FSS, The UWI, St Augustine

·         Mrs Lynette Seebaran-Suite – Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission

·         Dr Wendell Wallace – Criminology Unit, The UWI, St Augustine

·         Dr Cheryl Ann Boodram – Lecturer & Social Work Practicum Coordinator, Department of Behavioural Science, The UWI, St. Augustine

·         Dr Oscar OchoDirector of The UWI School of Nursing (UWISoN)

·         Dr Karene Nathaniel-DeCairesDepartment of Behavioural Sciences, The UWI, St Augustine


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:  

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)