Police, Crisis Centre warn of uptick in domestic disputes

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Police are watching what seems to be a new trend in domestic disputes, which has led to the death of three persons within the last month.

Palm Sunday was marred with a murder/suicide which left two families distraught, three children without their parents, a community rattled and police still searching for clues as to what drove a husband to shoot and kill his wife, before turning the gun on himself.

The murder/suicide rocked the Yellow Elder community early Sunday morning and police are concerned that Bahamians are not exercising sufficient conflict resolution methods to prevent violent and deadly outcomes.

“We are concerned about all domestic disputes that come to our attention and even those that don’t come to our attention,” Police Press Liaison Superintendent Shanta Knowles said.

“That is why we will continue to partner and work with organizations who bring awareness to domestic disputes like the Crisis Centre and the Pan-American Development Organization and others in the community so that we can encourage people to speak out and to get help.”

A little over a week ago, police were called to the scene of another apparent domestic dispute.

On March 17, former Bahamian bodybuilder and powerlifter Paul Melbourne, was stabbed to death by a female friend.

On March 1, Devon Leroy Stubbs, set himself ablaze outside a laundromat in Eleuthera.

It is alleged that Stubbs sought to harm himself after several unsuccessful attempts to re-enter a relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

He died in hospital two weeks later.

Donna Nicolls, volunteer at the Bahamas Crisis Centre (BCC) said, “persons need to really think about their actions before making hasty decisions, especially when we consider the love ones that are left to pick up the broken pieces from these violent outcomes in domestic disputes.”

Nicolls said she was deeply moved by the most recent murder/suicide on Sunday morning which have left three children without their parents.

“The children are always the silent sufferers in these relationships. It leaves a devastating impact on children and without intervention, a lot of times, it plays out in their adult life. So, couples always need to consider their actions because children are always the victims in these situations,” Nicolls said.

In 2012, the BCC introduced “Peace at Home,” a conference which focused on the importance of proper conflict resolutions within the home.

Since its inception, Nicolls admits that there has always been push-back from persons seeking conflict resolution assistance, “especially as it relates to domestic issues.”

“People are very private when it comes to their personal lives and disputes within the home. But, as we have seen, these disputes sometimes reach a boiling point and in some instances these disputes turn violent and that’s what we want to prevent.”

She continued, “We really have to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and look for the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. The whole concept of ownership is not good because nobody owns anybody. We have to break that idea which often leads to problems in relationships and marriages.”