A team of Caribbean and United Kingdom experts, headed by Professor Adele Jones from the UK’s University of Huddersfield, in partnership with The Sweet Water Foundation in Grenada, has been awarded €400,000 (US$439,409) from the European Union (EU) to implement a new project on preventing domestic violence in the Caribbean.
Data will be used to develop interactive, role-playing computer games designed to empower victims and change attitudes that have been linked to aggressive and violent behaviours.
“There is enough evidence to tell us that computer games can generate violence, so what we want to do is look at how we can create an educational tool that might begin to generate empathy – or non-violence,” Jones said.
The project has been named ‘None-in-Three’, derived from the finding that one in three women and girls experience violence in their lives.
“That’s a fairly global statistic, but domestic violence is identified as being particularly entrenched in the Caribbean,” Jones pointed out.
That said, relationship violence is also recognized as a growing problem among young people in the UK and for this reason the University of Huddersfield will fund doctoral research to trial the computer games for use in the British education sector as well.
Jones explained that the computer games will be just one aspect of the initiative, which has been designed to complement existing domestic violence prevention programmes in Barbados and Grenada, where the project is to be implemented.
‘None in Three’ will also include research with women in especially vulnerable circumstances – such as disabled women, pregnant women, women living with HIV, women who are trafficked and women from sexual minorities – with the aim of improving access to services and justice for these groups.
“We will also engage with men and youth to find out their perspectives,” Jones added. “Though the majority of victims are females, we need to acknowledge that males can also be subject to violence and we need a clear take on their views about what are its causes and what can be done.”
Another aspect of the project will be the design of training programmes based on the research findings and which will be made widely available to stakeholders and frontline professionals. One aspect of the project aims to reach people right across society. A social media campaign will be launched to encourage people to become spokespersons against violence in the home.
Noting that domestic violence is not exclusive to particular kinds of households, Jones said: “It is a whole of society problem; it’s in my home, your home, our brothers’ and sisters’ homes; it happens among the well-educated and the poorly educated; the rich and the poor; the professional worker and the street worker; the Church goer and the Church leader; the young and the less young; sometimes we know about it but most often we don’t.”.
‘None in Three’ will be implemented in Barbados and Grenada and will be launched on next Tuesday, March 8, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The project will run for two years.