Sagicor advocates for women with Protect our Women Campaign

April 26, 2021

Port of Spain, Trinidad—According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, “between 2011 and 2016, 4,956 reports of violence in the home were made to Trinidad and Tobago police. Ninety-six per cent of those involved women and girls.” Some four years after, in 2020, 45 women and two girls were killed in Trinidad and Tobago and represented 13 per cent of the homicides as at December 2020. With the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service saw an increase in intimate partner violence for the first three months of 2020 (558 reports) compared to the entire of 2019 (232 reports). This shows that gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious problem in Trinidad and Tobago and needs a holistic approach.


With these glaring statistics at the forefront, insurance and financial services entity Sagicor is embarking on a widespread campaign titled “Protect our Women,” that seeks to bring awareness and drive education towards the issue of gender-based violence. The campaign will see the company pouring $250,000 into a four-month campaign that also includes support of four NGOs dedicated to the fight: the Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago; The Shelter; Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and Families in Action, with $100,000 being directly donated to them to further their intervention programmes.


Robert Trestrail, President and CEO, Sagicor Life Inc, said combating the issue of domestic violence requires a whole of society approach that also involves corporate T&T. “As an organisation that is focused on supporting our communities, Sagicor is committed to helping women in our society and the institutions that are on the frontlines of the movement advocating for their safety.


“Treating with GBV requires more than a one-off solution and must involve all sectors of society, including private and corporate entities. Our support of these four NGOs is meant for them to use the funds as needed, from raising awareness on GBV issues so that people can recognise when it’s happening to expanding the services they offer or advising victims on how they can be accessed. GBV has always been an issue but COVID-19 has emphasised that these services are needed more than ever. Not only are we providing financial support, we are also opening up our social media platforms to them so they can reach a wider audience to spread their message and mission and engage with the public.”


Sagicor will also be hosting weekly personal safety webinars to the public over the four months, as part of the campaign, starting in May, with all invited to participate. The public can stay tuned to Sagicor’s Facebook and Instagram platforms and website for more details on how to enrol. This follows on from the “Sagicor Safety Tips for Women” that was aired on radio and shared on the company’s social media platforms to further raise awareness.


Dionne Guischard, CEO, Families In Action, said, “It is heartening to Families in Action that Sagicor has launched this Protect our Women Campaign. It will not only provide much needed support to us and our partner NGOs to support our clients but also gives us a platform to educate and empower our society to shape a brighter, safer future for our women and girls.”


Megan King-Cadett from the Rape Crisis Society agrees. King-Cadett, outreach officer attached to the Project Unit of the Society, said, “This campaign fuels The Fight! The fight, we at the Rape Crisis Society, commit to every day for our survivors. The pillars that construct the architecture of our work are self-determination, confidentiality, equity, and social policy. Together with Sagicor, it is our responsibility to create social change, in homes, communities, workplaces, and the nation. Our goal is to protect our women and girls; empower, educate and foster an environment free from violence.”


According to the chairman of The Shelter, Scott Hamilton, “The Shelter supports the initiative by Sagicor Life Inc “Protect our Women,” as it gives a voice to the women and children of domestic violence. The Shelter not only offers a safe haven to our residents but we also provide the steps needed for their personal healing and growth, including therapeutic counselling, skill set training, legal support but also actively participates in attempting to break the cycle of domestic violence in our country.”


The general manager of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh, said, “This campaign is sending a clear message that we need to move from being bystanders to upstanders in the struggle to end Domestic Violence. It signals hope, social responsibility and affirmative action.”