The Cabinet, by Minute no. 1177 dated 13 May 1999, agreed to the establishment of twenty-two Drop-in centres at various community centres and complexes located throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
The project which was piloted in 1998 in seven Centres evolved in response to information coming into the Domestic Violence Hotline that people were having difficulty accessing counseling and support services in their communities. The pilot project was funded by the UNDP and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
The objectives of the drop-in centres are:
- To provide support services for victims of domestic violence including rape and incest.
- To encourage the establishment of support groups at the community level.
- To promote an integrated approach to the protection and rehabilitation of persons vulnerable to domestic violence.
- To encourage conflict resolution as a means to preventing violence.
As of 2006, eight (8) Centres were still in operation. Each Centre is staffed by a trained social worker and support personnel and operates one day per week. The community police, wardens of the community centres and representatives of community groups also form part
of the service delivery team which aims to provide both information and assistance to individuals and families in the community.
The Maloney Resource Centre was a pilot project which sought to expand the type of services provided to communities. Additional services at that centre include a food bank, clothes bank and children's programmes and the Centre was opened four days per week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Given problems experienced at the centre, as regards to the confidentiality, the services were curtailed and a new venue is being sought. Families in Action has partnered with the Ministry to continue the project. Although Drop-in centres have been successful in providing some assistance to persons in the community, they are still somewhat underutilized.
Source of Information
Annual Report of the Gender Affairs Division (2005-2006), p. 33