From left: Angelina Carty; Twyla Bradshaw-Richard; Desron Bynoe; Roxanne Webster; Latoya Hobbs-Nurse; Minister Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers; Jade Raymond-Richardson; and Glenneva Hodge.
ANGUILLA--Following years of planning and fundraisers, the dreams and aspirations of a few dedicated women focused on providing Anguilla with psychosocial support via a toll-free 24-hour hotline, became a reality. The launch of the Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE) 7233 hotline was held at Leon’s conference centre located at the Malliouhana Auberge resort, on Wednesday, March 10.
Representatives from a cross-section of government and private entities key to the development and operationalisation of the service shared their efforts in support of establishing this service. Mistress of Ceremonies Angelina Carty of the Ministry of Social Development and a member of the SAFE executive board said that the hotline, initially intended to just support victims of domestic violence, has expanded its scope and will now support anyone and any family in need of emotional and social well-being support. She said the principles of SAFE include integrity, trust, confidentiality, anonymity and providing accurate and timely information. It will enhance networking services among providers and agencies that provide assistance in the legal and economic areas for sexual assault and elder and child abuse with the goal of eliminating all types of violence and abuse.
Minister of Social Development and Education Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers singled out and congratulated Jade Raymond-Richardson and Vyonne Brooks from the Hats and Heels Organisation, who began this initiative a few years ago and steadfastly saw it through to fruition. Hats and Heels made a donation of EC $10,000 to SAFE during its awards dinner held at the Cuisinart Resort on Sunday, March 7.
Rogers said, “We cannot underestimate how momentous this occasion is. Anguilla will now have a free psychosocial support hotline for women who are the victims of domestic violence, allowing for persons to reach out and give support to them.” She said the importance of putting this service in place is validated by current data. Since the onset of the March 2020 COVID pandemic in Anguilla, the Royal Anguilla Police Force (RAPF) has recorded an increase in domestic violence cases by 125 per cent.
Glenneva Hodge, President of the SAFE board thanked both the Digicel and Flow telecommunication entities for coming together to jointly support this initiative with their behind-the-scenes infrastructure magic necessary to provide one island-wide, cost-free and non-recordable number to any caller. She said, “This was huge. We had two competitors coming together for the greater good to provide access to this service free of charge.” She recognised governmental and private entities that have signed on through memorandum of understanding agreements to support the initiative. They include the RAPF, Anguilla Red Cross, PAVE Anguilla, the Department of Social Development and the Gender Affairs Unit, the Departments of Education and Immigration and the Anguilla Health Department.