Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 4:13 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Today, Special Envoy for Families and Children (SEFC), Rosana Briceno condemned the recent murder of St. Matthew’s resident Kendra Middleton and her three-year-old son, Aiden Perez.
The SEFC said that she and her office stands with Middleton’s family, the Ministry of Human Development, Families & Indigenous People’s Affairs, and all Belizeans who say “No” to violence and all forms of discrimination against our women and children. She also called for all Belizeans, particularly Belizean men, to openly reject and condemn all acts of violence against women and children and to support and protect the victims, especially in the healing and rehabilitation process.
“Each Belizean, especially our men, can help to challenge gender stereotypes, harmful traditional and cultural practices, and discrimination,” Briceno said.
The SEFC acknowledged that Belize has made “considerable progress” with regard to legislation and actions to combat gender-based violence (GBV) but also said that emerging data is showing an increase in such violence in Belize and that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse. She stressed that addressing the situation will require a broad involvement at every level of society including NGOs, civil society at large, and the private sector.
“The Office of the Special Envoy for the Development of Children and Families stands committed to working tirelessly with our partners and will use the power and resources of the Office to strengthen our legal frameworks and institutions for the effective persecution and punishment, and where possible the rehabilitation, of the perpetrators, to improve services for survivors, and to promote women and family empowerment…” Briceno stressed.
The SEFC also reminded the public that the Belize Police Department should be the first contact for help relating to acts of violence against women and children and that the hotline Hotline 0-800-A-WAY-OUT and the mobile number 672-9628 are available to seek assistance.
The Women and Family Support Offices countrywide are also available to assist women and their families with immediate support and protection, which can be reached at: Belize – 227-7397/3888, San Pedro – 206-4625, Cayo – 804-2098, Orange Walk – 302-2058, Belmopan – 822-2161, Stann Creek – 502-0038, and Punta Gorda – 702-2021.
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