A team of Caribbean and European experts, headed by Professor Adele Jones from the University of Huddersfield, in partnership with The Sweet Water Foundation of Grenada, has been awarded 400,000 euros from the European Union to implement a new project on preventing domestic violence in the region. 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. It is often claimed that computer games encourage violence, therefore the idea is to create computer games that can be used in schools to reduce negative attitudes developed in childhood and which can fuel domestic violence in later relationships.
Prof Jones said: “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.”
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,” said Prof Jones.
None in Three will be implemented in Barbados and Grenada and will be launched on March 8th 2016, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The project will run for two years.
EU Ambassador Mikael Barfod said: "If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to other forms of crime, to gang violence or terrorism, the entire region, even the world, would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news all the time."
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 victims 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.
Prof Jones added: “We will also engage with men and youth to find out their perspectives. Though the majority of victims are females, we need to acknowledge that males are also 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 which will be made widely available to stakeholders and frontline professionals. The aim is to reach people right across society. A Social Media Campaign will be launched to encourage people to become spokespersons against violence in the home.
According to Ambassador Barfod: "There are far too many silent sufferers. If we are to fight discrimination and injustice against women, we must start from every home, for if a woman cannot be safe in her own house, then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere. These crimes are everywhere and can take place behind any door and barely elicit much more than a shrug of shoulders and superficial dismay."
Prof Jones added: "Domestic violence doesn’t happen in particular kinds of households, it is societal - 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. For these reasons we hope to generate widespread support and to engage people from all walks of life as None in Three Representatives, people willing to take a stand against domestic violence, in all its forms and wherever it happens.