Eighteen Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) members from various police divisions in the parish of St. Thomas completed a 2-day sensitization session to address stigma and discrimination against members of key population groups. The session is part of CVC’s efforts to ensure people living with HIV and survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) have access to quality and efficient services by building the capacity of duty-bearers such as police officers, justices of the peace, and other stakeholders in the Jamaican legal system.
The training session consisted of several interactive presentations and practical exercises to help participants better apply sensitive and inclusive principles in their work.
The session featured discussions on the following topics:
- Definitions, forms, and presentations of stigma, discrimination, HIV, and GBV in society
- Identifying how human rights issues hinder vulnerable populations’ access to quality services
- Analyzing policies and legislation that protect human rights and how police officers can act professionally and ethically to uphold these laws
- Improving the quality and accessibility of services: strategies to address human rights challenges, educating coworkers on non-discriminatory behavior, modifying behavioral approaches to individuals who present human rights violations
The participants openly welcomed the discussion topics and were engaged in the activities throughout the session. They actively took notes during presentations to learn and return knowledge to their workplaces. Overall, they felt the session was very informative and shed light on issues that must be addressed during the daily execution of their duties.
Inspector Neville Gordon, who was very active during the sessions, expressed his gratitude for attending the program. “Sessions like these are extremely important and should be attended often to remind every one of us how to treat and respect every member of our community. Every position within the JCF can benefit from these trainings, from the front desk secretary to the Commissioner,” he shared.
Meanwhile, Detective Natoya McCauley said, “I came here today with a certain thought about people living with disabilities, but after the session, I was reminded that I should treat all people with an open mind. I used to just think of all individuals as the same, but I learned to acknowledge the special circumstances of each person who comes in. Now that I have attended this training, I will surely use the lessons in my work.”
In the meantime, CVC’s Technical Programme Officer, Sasha Gaye Shaw, partnered with Patrick Lalor from Jamaica AIDS Support for Life to facilitate the session. After overseeing the training, Ms. Shaw said she was satisfied with the outcome. “Sensitization trainings like these are vital to ensuring the advancement of human rights for members of key population groups across the Caribbean. Vulnerable populations must be protected, and individuals belonging to these key groups must know they can receive fair services without judgment. Seeing the participants’ engagement in the discussions and activities was very gratifying. They actively listened while taking notes and promised to share their new knowledge with their colleagues in the future,” she noted.
This sensitization training session is a significant component of CVC’s mission to advocate for and uphold the human rights of vulnerable populations across the Caribbean.