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Failing to report children being exposed to sexual abuse? ... Laws coming for you

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2015 | 12:25 PM

Parental neglect and failure to report children being exposed to sexual abuse are to be made offences as the country grapples with increased attacks on children.

The new offences were outlined by minister with responsibility for information Senator Sandrea Falconer during a post-Cabinet press briefing this morning.

She says the Cabinet approved the new offences during its meeting this week.

The amendments are to be made to the Child Care and Protection Act and the Criminal Justice Administration of Justice acts.

Senator Falconer disclosed that Cabinet has asked that the necessary administrative steps be taken to increase the penalties for persons who murder, rape or commit other serious violent crimes against children.

She says the victim status of children will be treated as an aggravating feature resulting in what she says will be a substantial increase in the sentence of accused persons after being convicted.

No date has been given for when the amendments will be brought to the Parliament but Senator Falconer says drafting instructions have been issued.

Meanwhile, cases relating to violence against children are to be given priority scheduling in the court system.

Director of legal reform in the Justice Ministry, Maurice Bailey, says discussions are to be had with the Chief Justice, Zaila McCalla.

During her contribution to the budget debate in March, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced that stiffer penalties were coming for persons guilty of abusing children.

Almost 30 children have been killed so far this year.