Tue | Jan 24, 2017

Punish men who target children

Published:Friday | October 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE OFFICE of the Children's Advocate is calling for a new provision in the Sexual Offences Act to punish men who target children to cure a sexually transmitted disease.

Making a case for the proposed amendment to be considered by lawmakers, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, the Children's Advocate said this move would capture situations in which an individual, who is infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), intentionally and maliciously has sexual intercourse with a child or any other individual.

"It is a well-known myth in some quarters that if a man has a sexually transmitted disease he stands a good chance of being cured of his affliction if he has sexual intercourse with a virgin. There is a greater probability of finding a virgin within the child population than within the adult population," the children's advocate told a joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the Sexual Offences Act.

According to Gordon-Harrison, an inclusion of this provision would accord legislative recognition to this aspect of Jamaica's culture and should serve to increase the level of protection afforded to children.

"There should, of course, be a graver penalty if it can be proved that the disease has been passed on to a child by a perpetrator in these circumstances," she added.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com