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  • Writer's pictureDenise Powers

Why The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre

Thirty-five percent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. This is a fundamental human rights violation – an expression of physical or psychological dominance that can manifest in many ways including financial, sexual and emotional.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC) was established to help end the cycle of family violence in Cayman forever by protecting and supporting women, men, parents and children. The centre is a safe haven, a sanctuary and peaceful place to heal. Their ultimate aim: to close their doors because their services are no longer needed.

Domestic violence is not only in the home. It is a societal and cultural issue affecting people of all ages and genders. Accordingly, eradicating domestic violence is inseparable from securing the basic human rights that we all deserve:

· The right to life

· The right to feel and be safe

· The right to freedom

· The highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

· The right to decent work

· The right to safe housing

· Freedom of expression and the right to hold opinions without interference

· The right to access to social, health and legal services

· A child or young person’s right to leisure and play

· The right to education

· The right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

The CICC offers a number of services to help achieve their aims. They involve protecting, listening, educating, supporting and advocating. In Cayman, they provide a full suite of programmes and services that don’t just look to provide at-the-minute support and safe shelter, but also seek to end the cycle of abuse. These programmes are:

An Emergency Shelter

The origins of the Centre began as a safe place for women and their children to escape domestic violence. Since then, they have provided shelter and support to more than 1,000 women and their children, with more arriving every year. Clients access the safe shelter programme through the 24-hour Crisis Line and may live at the home for up to 60 days. Here, they have access to various services, all of which are free:

· Adult case management

· Risk assessments

· Safety planning

· Individual and group counselling

· Parenting education

· Support groups

· Resource referrals and advocacy

· Children and Youth Programme (see below).

Kids Helpline

This programme offers a free help line for children and young adults (up to 18 years old). This is designed for those who simply need someone to talk to because they are having problems at school or home, or simply because they feel like nobody understands what they are going through. All conversations are private, though in some cases it may be necessary to reach out to partner agencies for appropriate support or resources.

Children and Youth Programme

They provide intervention and prevention services for children who accompany their mothers to the Shelter programme. To break the cycle of abuse, these at-risk young people, particularly those who have experienced or witnessed violence, need assistance too, through challenging times of change and transition. A trained counsellor works with these young victims to enhance their safety and self-esteem skills, maintain academic performance and work through what they have seen and lived with. The counsellor also works to increase the knowledge of child abuse prevention for mothers.

Outreach Programme

Domestic violence is a not a ‘woman’s issue’ – it is a community problem and the CICC Outreach Programme works to raise awareness of family violence in our community by engaging and talking about the issue of domestic abuse, sexual assault, child abuse prevention and the effects of family abuse on children.

Aftercare Programme

Starting life anew is not easy and the more assistance that can be provided to those who elect to live lives free of violence, the more successful they will be at it. The CICC helps by identifying and reducing risk factors surrounding violence and poverty and provide the following, free of charge:

· Crisis counseling

· Monthly educational support groups

· Referral services for counseling

· Housing

· Employment

· Parenting skills

Estella’s Place

This walk-in centre is accessible to anyone, male or female, who have been victims or have been affected by domestic abuse, but may not have the current need for safe shelter, but are seeking advice, safety planning and an empathetic ear from a trained counsellor. Families or individuals can gain access to the programmes and services including individual or group counselling and support group sessions. In addition, this is the location of the TAYA (Teens and Young Adults) Lounge, which is an after-school programme focused on building healthy relationships and life choices in at-risk young people.

Need help?

If you are being hurt by your partner, or you suspect someone you know is, call the 24-Hour Crisis Line # 943-CICC (2422) and they will look after you from there.

If you are in distress, or think you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, including a child, and just need someone to talk to, call us any time of the day or night and they will listen. This Crisis Line serves the entire Cayman public, men, women and children.

Cayman Kids Line: 649-5437 (KIDS) from 3:00pm – 6:00pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Outside these times there will be a message to call 911 or our 24/7 Crisis Line)

Want to help?

Project Further’s first fundraising project is to help this necessary organisation build a new and fit-for-purpose safe shelter. The current home is a four-bedroom, one-bathroom home, that often houses more than 20 women and children at a time. No one is turned away from the shelter and this often leads to cramped quarters. These women and children need to have ample space to afford time to heal, and equally importantly, male survivors of violence need a suitable safe shelter, as currently such a facilility does not exist.

Contribute to Project Further’s campaign to raise $1 million for the CICC to build its new home or let’s talk about a sponsorship programme that will work for your organisation.

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