Police commissioner Gary Griffith has kept his promise and will launch a Gender-Based Violence Unit on Tuesday. Earlier this month, after three women who were all victims of domestic violence, were murdered in unrelated cases, Commissioner Griffith said that he was putting the final touches on the unit.
He hastened to add that the unit was not being formed and operationalised in response to this spate of domestic violence-related murders but had been in the pipeline for some time as domestic violence is not a recent phenomenon in TT.
On Monday, a release from the TTPS confirmed that the unit will be launched at 11 am on Tuesday at the Solomon Mc Leod Lecture Theatre, Police Administration Building in Port of Spain.
The issue of domestic violence and partner-involved abuse returned to the national limelight recently with the murders of the three women.
In one case, Polly-Ann Chuniesingh along with her brother and their uncle were found strangled in their home in Pinto Road, Arima. While police have classified this triple murder as a robbery-homicide, Polly-Ann’s relatives confirmed she was a victim of domestic violence where, as recently as December, a former lover had laced her drink with poison. A man has been charged for this triple murder.
In another incident, Gabriella Du Barry, who had fled an abusive relationship and even applied for a restraining order from the courts, was shot to death at her parent’s home in Avocat Village, Fyzabad. A man has been charged with this murder.
And in yet another case, Jezelle Philip was fatally stabbed while she was teaching a class of children in a Port of Spain pre-school which she owned and operated. A man has since been charged for her murder and has appeared in court.
Commissioner Griffith said the gender-based violence unit will be manned by police officers specially trained to handle reports of domestic violence and similar acts of abuse and criminality.