The Spotlight Initiative
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have embarked on a new, global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) - the Spotlight Initiative. The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the center of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Initiative will respond to all forms of VAWG, with a focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic exploitation. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Initiative will fully integrate the principle of leaving no one behind.
The SI in Jamaica will be national in scope and targeted interventions will focus on the following four parishes: The Kingston Metropolitan Area (Kingston and St. Andrew), St. Thomas, Clarendon, and Westmoreland.
The outbreak of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency in January 2020, raised concerns about the possible spike in VAWG in Jamaica. The preventive measures assumed by the government that include lockdowns, curfews, and closure of public spaces, as well as increasing stress and uncertainty, have put at further risk of violence women and girls living with perpetrators. Additionally, service provision is reduced; and the survivors, living in isolation in small spaces with the abusers, face additional obstacles at reaching out for help.
In this framework, the Spotlight Initiative partnered with Woman Inc with the aim to address the urgent need to put in practice a series of strategies to enable women and girls to contact confidential hotlines and to receive support and quality services should they experience Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Woman Inc received a grant from the Spotlight initiative and used it to purchase hygiene supplies for COVID-19 care packages that were given to women in the target parishes.
Despite COVID-19, Woman Inc engaged in training new Hotline volunteers.
Each Women’s group Who are partners with Woman Inc were provided with 10 Spotlight Initiative Hygienes for distribution to survivors in the respective communities they serve.: i.e WROC, Eve for Life, JW+, JHWU, Groot’s, Sistren . Nearly 40 Spotlight packages.
The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Jamaica is that women and girls realize their full potential in a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive way. The Spotlight Initiative will directly contribute to the achievement of three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Goal 3 on Good Health and Well-being and Goal 16 on Inclusive and Peaceful Societies. The programme will contribute to the elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV) through the creation of a broad partnership with Civil Society, Government, Private Sector, Media, among others; and, build a social movement of women, men, girls, boys and transgender people as champions and agents of change at the national, subnational and community levels. A specific focus will be on reaching and including in the programme women and girls who are often isolated and most vulnerable to GBV and harmful practices due to intersecting forms of discrimination. The programme will also seek to address the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of all women and girls in all their diversity using a life-cycle approach.
The Spotlight Initiative in Jamaica provides a unique opportunity to address family violence as a major public health and development issue with significant ramifications at the individual, community and national levels. UNFPA, in collaboration with UNDP, UNICEF and UNWOMEN, will address three key priority areas within Family Violence against women and girls in Jamaica through the Spotlight Initiative: (i) Child Sexual Abuse; (ii) Intimate Partner Violence; and (iii) Discrimination against vulnerable groups.
Through a comprehensive approach, the Spotlight Initiative will focus its work on family violence through six key pillars:
- Developing and implementing relevant legislation and policies
- Strengthening national and sub-national institutions
- Preventing violence through evidence-based programmes and campaigns
- Establishing and strengthening essential services for victims and survivors
- Ensuring the collection and use of prevalence and incidence data
- Partnering directly with women’s movements and civil society.