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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Victims of domestic and other forms of abuse will have somewhere to seek refuge after the middle of this month.

A crisis centre for battered persons will become operational by April 16, Minister of Social Development Frederick Stephenson told Parliament last month.

He made the announcement while responding to a question submitted by opposition senator, Anesia Baptiste.

Baptiste wanted to know “whether the long awaited Crisis Centre is now operationalised; and if not, how soon can Vincentians expect it to be in operation?”

“I note the words ‘long-awaited’ in the honourable senator’s question but nothing happens before its time, Mr. Speaker. Everything takes a little time. Sometimes, the things we wish for are not necessarily the things that we should get,” Stephenson responded.

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He said that the government is “resolved in operationalizing the Crisis Centre and has been working assiduously to realise this very important goal”.

A lot of work has been done over the years to ensure that the “important facility” becomes a reality, Stephenson further told legislators.

“It is my ministry’s intention to see this facility/institution … provide a meaningful place to care for people, who, from time to time, would be in need of help and a caring spirit.”

He said the staff was “in place” and was being trained.

“It’s a new institution for us and part of this training will include a study-tour to neighbouring St. Lucia within the next week and a half or so to observe the operation of the crisis centre and the women’s support centre in St. Lucia,” he said, adding that further internal and external enhancement work was just being completed.

“I want to say that it is the intention of the Ministry that the crisis centre would comment its work, and its operation by the 16th of April 2012,” Stephenson said.

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