The government is currently finalising arrangements for the acquisition of a property outside Kingston that will be used as a shelter for battered women who are living in fear because of domestic abuse.
According to Gender Affairs Minister Olivia Grange, the state-run shelter is valued at more than $40 million and should be opened before the end of the year. Money was allocated in the budget to purchase the property, which was previously being used as a guest house.
"We feel that Government has a responsibility to ensure that we provide the facilities and that we are leading the way and setting the example in addressing issues of gender-based violence," she said. "We have physically taken over the property, and we are now assessing what renovations and refurbishing needs to be done," noted the minister.
"It is a sizable property, so we will be able to house abused women and their children [as well as] conduct counselling and other activities. So it is going to be a total space to provide full service for those who have been abused," the minister said during the launch of the Jamaica Women's Health Survey Report at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew, yesterday.
The only women's shelter currently in operation in Jamaica is managed by Woman Inc. The facility underwent extensive renovation and expansion last year in order to accommodate more victims of gender-based violence and was reopened last year October.