Retired DCP says Domestic Violence Act ‘weak’ after women killed

ON the heels of a second woman being reportedly slain by her partner since the start of the year, retired Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Novelette Grant has declared that the 1996 Domestic Violence Act is “weak”.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nevia Sinclair was stabbed to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, at her home in Brinkley, St Elizabeth, around 10:50 pm Sunday, the police have reported.

Sinclair’s death came hours after 35-year-old Jamaica Defence Force Corporal Doran McKenzie reportedly murdered his common-law wife, 34-year-old Suianne Easy, in Portmore, St Catherine, before turning the gun on himself.

Days before, 24-year-old Shantel Whyte was allegedly murdered on New Year’s Eve by her lover.

“There is no refuge for people who are living in a house with a man who is abusing her, or a man who is living in a house whose life is miserable. Where can you go? That is the dilemma. Everybody saying people should leave, but leave and go where? The current legislation is weak; the current social services not adequate,” a seemingly frustrated Grant said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The former DCP, who served almost four decades in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and spent significant time tackling domestic violence issues, noted also that there is room for improvement in how court-related matters in domestic violence cases are handled.

According to Grant, the Domestic Violence Act lacks specificity, and, as such, sometimes labours the process.

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