The Bahamas joined other members of the United Nations in adding its name to the campaign ad, “Say NO to Violence Against Women” during a signing ceremony Tuesday at the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
Minister of State for Social Development with responsibility for Women’s Affairs the Hon Loretta Butler-Turner signed the document on behalf of the Bahamas Government and pledged support to the United Nations Development Fund’s (UNIFEM) multi-year campaign to end violence acts against women.
The move coincides with the enactment of the Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, 2007 which comes into effect on Monday, December 1.
The campaign was a year-long global advocacy and awareness-raising effort on ending violence against women. It was designed to support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign to end violence against women.
“The UNIFEM initiative is intended to demonstrate that there are tremendous amounts of persons who do say ‘no’ to violence against women and say ‘yes’ to make ending it a top priority for governments everywhere,” Mrs Butler-Turner said.
The names that have been collected throughout the campaign were to be presented to the Secretary-General on November 25, which was being organised as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. These names will support the campaign that will end in 2015.
“The Bahamas remains committed to ending violence against women and we have demonstrated our commitment through the strengthening of existing laws like the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act. Our recent amendments to this Act provide for stiffer penalties for offenders,” Mrs Butler-Turner said.
“Our country has worked diligently to also introduce new legislation to provide greater protection to persons affected by domestic violence,” she added.
It is hoped that the implementation of this “key legislation” will assist in deterring acts of violence in the communities, particularly against women.
Mrs. Butler-Turner thanked the Crisis Centre and the Nassau Chapter of Links, which have supported the work of the government in addressing violence against women.
“The Crisis Centre continues to provide counselling to many victims and the Links Safe House for Women in Crisis has helped to house those women who require shelter from abuse,” she said.