Feature Story XpBonaire IslandLife
Security image BES 2018
According to a study, the three BES islands are struggling with persistent poverty issues and related problems such as problematic debt, alcohol and drug use, obesity, domestic violence and child neglect. An increase in violence has been reported on all islands, both in terms of fights and domestic violence. The latter, in particular, is widely seen as the major local problem of the BES Islands.
Nature and size
According to a study in 2014, reporting on the nature and extent of domestic violence on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba leaves something to be desired as there was no domestic violence advice and reporting center. Police reports also gave no realistic picture because domestic violence is more taboo than in the Netherlands and, as a result, the willingness to report is low. All chain partners agree that domestic violence is a common phenomenon and is closely related to the issue of poverty on the islands.
The impression is that, compared to the Netherlands, domestic violence on the islands includes more serious forms of physical violence. The prevalence of domestic violence is persistent because it is closely linked to the poverty problem on the islands. The relatively poor living conditions of parts of the population are a trigger for domestic violence and are sustaining it.
Since beginning of 2019, an intensive campaign around the theme of violence in relationships has been set up by the Ministries of Justice and Security, Public Health, Welfare and Sport in collaboration with the public bodies.
The departments to call and report
Centrum Jeugd & Gezin (Center of Youth & Family): 715 72 00
Integrale wijkaanpak (Integrated neighborhood approach): 717 22 11
Bureau Slachtofferhulp (Victim Support Office): 717 61 81
As of October 2019, Bonaire will have a woman’s shelter as part of Foundation Krusada who provides a safe haven to many who struggle in our society.
Refugio Thabita opened its doors at the beginning of October 2019, to many woman who are victims of domestic violence on Bonaire. Right now the waiting list consists of 10 women and children.
Woman who can find help at Refugio Thabita are reported victims who have been found in need of help and have been approved by, or brought by, the police.
The shelter has 11 rooms including single person rooms, studios for mother and child and an apartment for a family.
Refugio Thabita is using an 8 phase system to help the victim to become a functioning, safe and healthy member of the society again. When arriving at the shelter, the woman will find a safe place with only female mentors and a place to stay. After settling in, the parties involved will start developing an individual care plan to work on the immediate problem, both physically and mentally, and begin creating a future with security such as a workplace and a safe home situation. During their stay, they will also be working at their job or at the workshop at Krusada.
Woman will be guided through the 8 phase system by their mentor and will stay for a minimum of 3 months up to a maximum of 6 months. Food will be provided as well as training, emotional relapse prevention, and spiritual guidance. To ensure the safety of the women, the shelter will have security cameras overlooking the property and a 24 security guard on location.
Victims of domestic violence are not forced to return, but are always welcome to come back.
It is known that women who are domestic violence victims often return to their old lives and what they know. Domestic violence cases are often known, but it is difficult to do anything under the law without the assistance of the victim.
Often the physical and mental violence becomes more intense over time.
Mental violence destroys the victim’s self-esteem and influences healthy decision making.