Dr. Leahcim Semaj
Psychologist Dr. Leahcim Semaj is of the view that Jamaica's high levels of violent crime could be contributing to the police force not treating domestic abuse complaints with the urgency required.
While he encouraged persons to make reports to the police if they are in an abusive relationship or if they know persons who are in such situations, Dr. Semaj acknowledged that domestic violence complaints are not always top priority for members of the police force.
"Crime is (at) such a high level in Jamaica and we hear police always not having motor vehicles, not having any access to facilities but the fact that this could result in somebody's life. I know of a number of cases where a woman... time after time after time she goes to the police station to make a report and nobody even turns up, nobody even comes to question the person who is so accused. But we have to be making sure that these things are important, because if we don't address the small things, then that same police will have to come when there is a big thing now," he declared.
Dr. Semaj said persons making complaints should insist that action is taken.
"If you go to the police and they not responding, escalate it. Speak to somebody further up the ranks so that you have it on record that you told somebody that my life is being threatened," he said.
Dr. Semaj also called for increased public education and more information to be disseminated on settling disputes and domestic violence.
"So it's almost a standard thing that once there is a dispute, once there is a power distance between two people, violence will come in because we don't teach dispute resolution, we don't teach amicable settlements," he pointed out.
He added that persons who carry weapons such as police officers, soldiers, security guards or licensed firearm holders are more likely to use their weapons when there is a situation that triggers disappointment, upset or frustration.
Dr. Semaj's comments follow the latest incidents of murder arising from domestic disputes.
Twenty-seven year-old Nevia Sinclair was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in the community of Brinkley, St. Elizabeth, on Sunday night.
The accused was handed over to the police by his father Monday morning.
On Sunday morning, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Corporal Doran McKenzie fatally chopped and shot his girlfriend Suianne Easy before killing himself in Portmore, St. Catherine.