Awareness Needed on GBV Therapy

The public should be educated about the role of counsellors, psychologists and mental health practitioners in society.

Educating the public on their roles would result in the design of targeted therapeutic intervention programmes for families of both victims and perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV), especially when it comes to intimate partner homicides (IPHs), a study has found.

Principal researcher of the study, Lea Haidula, who is based at Unam’s Human Science Department, presented this recommendation at the Second National Conference on Gender-Based Violence that took place in Windhoek.

She stressed the need for the Ministry of Education to put emphasis on school subjects such as Life Skills with topics on the effects of GBV, risk relationship assessment skills, societal attitude change, programmes for young males such as social skills, anger management and coping with rejection.

Haidula, who together with Dr Shikongo and Dr Marques compiled the study, also highlighted the important intervention of faith-based institutions through crisis intervention, grief counselling, family counselling and couple counselling. Other recommendations include accelerating the process of adoption and guardianship when children are orphaned, financial support for affected families, an emergency response team to act as liaison between police and family at crime scenes and establishing an effective referral system network for families.

The government was urged to invest more in infrastructural development to avail psychological services to more people.

“Increase the number of psychologists by providing bursaries for psychology students and evaluate conditions of service and career opportunities of psychologists in government,” said Haidula.

She urged government to integrate community mental health services into existing health infrastructure and gender-sensitise training for the police to enhance empathic responses to domestic violence.

The research also highlighted the need to not only concentrate on the family of the GBV victim, but also family of the perpetrator as often public sympathy is focused on the victim’s family and not of the perpetrator. She said as much as families of victims experience shock, anxiety, depression, confusion, trauma, self-blame and a sense of anger and bitterness, so do the victims. The three-day conference under the theme ‘Unifying Actions to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence in Namibia’, started last week on Wednesday and ended on Friday.

Source : New Era