Jamaica: More Men filing Domestic Violence Reports

Nicholas Nunes/Photographer Detective Corporal Damion Hammond (right) invites (from left) Linda Maguire, deputy director, UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean; DSP Jacqueline Dillon, head of the Domestic Violence Intervention Centres (DVIC); Senior Superintendent Christopher Phillips, head of the St Catherine South Police Division; and UNDP Resident Representative Denise Antonio inside the DVIC at the Greater Portmore Police Station in St Catherine during a tour last Friday.
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Asha Wilks/Gleaner Writer

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jacqueline Dillon has noted that the Domestic Violence Intervention Centres (DVICs) have been having a major impact since their inception in 2021, with more males stepping forward to report abuse.

While the data for previous years were not readily available, administrators said there has been a noticeable increase in the number of men now making reports. Last year, nearly 2,500 males reported domestic violence cases to the DVICs. Female made 6,221 reports, bringing to 8,714 the total number of cases recorded islandwide in 2022.

There were also 2,757 children (both boys and girls), who were directly or indirectly affected by incidents of domestic violence.

The DVICs fall under the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) DVICare programme, which is managed by the Community Safety and Security Branch.

Dillon, who is head of the DVICs, described the programme as “a blessing in disguise”. She noted that if it were not for this kind of intervention, there could possibly have been more murders recorded in the island.

“So, it’s good because if we are talking about men being the greatest perpetrators of domestic violence, we must have a facility where men can go and talk, and the DVICare centres provide that for them,” she said during a tour of the Greater Portmore Police Station’s DVIC in St Catherine last Friday, one of 10 centres across the island.

In 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative, supported the establishment of six DVICs in the island.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise Antonio, who was among the touring party, asked whether anyone had found the facilities to be useful, safe spaces to talk about their problems.

The DSP said that the DVIC managers – who are police officers and who receive quarterly training in survivor-based intervention, counselling, and social work – take pride in preserving people’s privacy and anonymity while allowing them to feel at ease in discussing their issues.

“People, when they come in, must not feel like when they’re sitting in a police station. They must not feel that they are being judged. They must not feel that their matter will not be treated [seriously],” she said.

Dillon said that the Greater Portmore Police Station’s DVIC, which serves the entire St Catherine, receives the majority of the island’s cases with close to 2,000 matters last year.

Linda Maguire, UNDP deputy director in Latin America and the Caribbean, said the uptick in reports was a positive sign as it indicated that people’s concerns were being heard and addressed.


There is one DVIC in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, St Ann, Westmoreland, and St Mary. Two are located in St Thomas and another two are in Kingston and St Andrew.

Dillon said that the island’s remaining parishes are in need of such units but that this was not yet feasible due to budgetary constraints.

Given the limited funding, she said that officers assigned to the DVICs often face challenges with transportation to move victims to a safe house and for other needs.

“We have to dig into our pockets or we rely on the division or the station to assist in transporting that victim,” Dillon said, adding that the unit was without an assigned service vehicle.

The lack of funding has also prevented the expansion of the Portmore-based centre despite its high intake.

“I think when we conceptualised the DIVCare centres, we never knew the magnitude of persons who would have reached out for help and in such a short time,” Dillon said, noting that there were no waiting areas available and that victims had to use the general station facilities such as the restroom.

She told The Gleaner that a discussion around the division’s expansion was taking place as the Greater Portmore facility, and its three DVIC managers are overwhelmed by the flood of cases.

Dillon said it was difficult to manage the volume of cases coming from St Catherine North, which has the highest number of domestic violence reports in the island, and those coming from St Catherine South, where the parish’s DVIC is located.

“The plan, going forward, is that for every division, there will be a DVICare centre there based on the reported numbers coming out of each division,” she said.


Antonio, who noted that the UNDP hopes to support Jamaica in tackling the issue of violence through the creation of a peace-building fund, raised the issue of access to services for the disabled. She queried whether the DVICs were prepared to help, for example, a person who needs to communicate through sign language.

The DSP explained that in such cases, the centres make contact with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities to assist with interpreting.

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