Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Speedy review of Sexual Offences Act needed - parliamentary committee

Published:Saturday | January 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM

In response to increased gender-based violence and sexual abuse against children, minister with responsibility for gender affairs, Olivia Grange, this week, urged a parliamentary committee set up to review the Sexual Offences Act and other related pieces of legislation to move expeditiously to complete its work.

Grange made it clear that the committee intends to take strong positions in its deliberations to strengthen the current laws governing child abuse.

The Joint Select Committee will be examining the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green supported Grange on the need to move urgently to have the laws reviewed, noting that the country has been engaged in a long discussion on issues such as child abuse, and it is now time for action.

Committee Chairman Delroy Chuck emphasised the need for the country to put in place stronger legislation to strengthen law-enforcement activities. He stressed the problem of human trafficking and carnal abuse, noting that it is not strange to meet grandmothers who are 24 years old. "It is almost a double illegality," he added.

The committee has set February 1 and 8 to have its first meetings, at which time agencies with responsibility for protecting children would be invited to make presentations.

The committee will also invite members of the public to make submissions.

A decision was also made to adopt the minutes from the previous committee, which had its last meeting in November 26, 2014.

The chairman wants deliberations to be complete within four to six months.

The children's advocate and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences Child Abuse are expected to be among the first government agencies to appear before the committee.