Whether the police would respond differently to a complaint from a woman about abusive behaviour from a spouse as opposed to a non-cohabiting boyfriend (1999-2000) [GUY35344.E]

The following information on the role of the police in enforcing the Domestic Violence Act was obtained from the Website of Help and Shelter, a Georgetown-based NGO that provides a hotline, shelter, counselling and other support services to victims of domestic violence.

Under the Domestic Violence Act, the police officers have a crucial role to play in ensuring the safety of victims or any other persons in danger. They can file an application in the court on behalf of the victim. They can arrest an abuser without a warrant if he violates the court orders. They have a duty to assist the victim by ensuring that the victim is taken to hospital and gets medical attention if they are injured as a result of domestic violence.
The police has to ensure that any person who is afraid of domestic violence and feels unsafe is moved to a safe place (n.d.).

However, a representative of Help and Shelter stated that although Guyana's domestic violence legislation "treats all relationships the same, ... the police response varies from individual to individual" (13 Sept. 2000).

Additional information on police response to domestic violence complaints can be found in Country Reports 1999.

For additional information on the Domestic Violence Act, please consult GUY34842.E of 12 July 2000 and GUY32426.E of 9 August 1999, as well as the Website of Help and Shelter.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Help and Shelter, Georgetown. 13 September 2000. Correspondence from a representative.

_____. n.d. "Domestic Violence Act 1996." http://www.sdnp.org.gy/hands/dv.html [Accessed 26 Sept. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Country Reports 1999. February 2000.

IRB databases.

Research Directorate country file.

WIN News [Lexington, Mass.].

World News Connection (WNC).

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International.

Human Rights Internet (HRI).

Human Rights Watch (HRW).

United Nations (UNDP, WomenWatch, CEDAW).