The Domestic Violence Act is being reviewed to bring it into line with international best practice, Minister in the Ministry of Gender Affairs Ramona Ramdial said yesterday.
In a statement to Parliament on International Women's Day, Ramdial said the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, "which is very capably led by Senator Marlene Coudray", was planning a year-long campaign, which started yesterday, which would focus on the varied roles, issues and concerns related to women.
She said several pieces of legislation were being reviewed, including the Domestic Violence Act.
Ramdial said within some communities and families in Trinidad and Tobago, women were being subjected to some form of violence or abuse, adding that many remain silent, afraid of the consequences of revealing the truth.
"We as parliamentarians and as women must not allow these crimes to go unreported or to persist. We also have a responsibility to socialise our boys and men to treat girls and women as equals, with dignity and respect," she said.
However, she noted the country had an admirable track record and enviable reputation internationally with regard to promoting the rights of women and girls. "We must not allow violence targeting our women to tarnish this reputation," Ramdial stated.
Stating in its 50 years of independence, Trinidad and Tobago could be justly proud of its many female heroes and icons in areas of sport, culture, academia, literature, public and social service, politics and the creative industries, Ramdial said she was inviting every parliamentarian to continue to work and support the civil society network in order to stop the violence against women and girls.
In his statement, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago had witnessed its fair share of grotesque headlines and stories of violence perpetrated against its women.
"We of the PNM (People's National Movement) hold to the principle of gender equality. We abhor violence of any sort and especially so when it is directed at women and children. We do not believe 'it's a man's world'. We believe that men and women should be equal under the law and that the contributions of all women in the development of Trinidad and Tobago should be revered and appreciated," he said.