A marked lull in murders in St. James since the introduction of the State of Public Emergency on January 18, has failed to stem the flood of victims accessing the services of the Victim Support Division in the parish.
Debbian Dalley, Manager, Victim Support Division in St. James, says on average, between 70 to 80 persons visit the office monthly and the stream of persons visiting continues unabated.
“The lull in murders has not caused a decline in the number of persons requiring targeted assistance to manage the emotional trauma associated with and caused by crime. What we are seeing is that many of those persons who were affected directly by murders or violent crimes are just now coming forward for assistance.”
Last year, St. James recorded 335 murders and Mrs. Dalley says some of the victims are just now coming forward for assistance, as they realize that they would need help to deal with all the emotional issues affecting them following such traumatic events.
She said of the monthly figures, the majority or 50, are generally new cases, while another 30 are follow up cases.
“What we are finding, however, is that the numbers are dominated by women and girls as in any given month, there are no more than six males coming forward to learn coping mechanisms, how to deal with anger and so we are seeing more aggression and retaliation, as people seek violent means to avenge the death of their loved ones,” she explained.
Mrs. Dalley said very rarely do fathers come for counselling and therapy sessions, which could be due in part to the upbringing where boys and men are taught not to show emotions, so they internalize the hurt, which is manifested in other ways, most times in violent episodes.
“The men sometimes think they have another way of dealing with the issues affecting them; in some instances, they internalize the hurt and this is manifested in other ways, for example aggression. So sometimes when you talk to these men, you realize that the anger and aggression is fueled by the way their sons or brother was murdered, but because they did not go through a healthy healing process, they lash out at society,” Dalley explained.
She said it would be good to see some of the fathers, sons and brothers coming forward for counselling and learning how to let go of the hurt and the pain.