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House wraps up sitting for 2016, but no committee to consider violence against women, children

Published:Monday | December 12, 2016 | 10:14 AM

The House of Representatives has completed its sittings for this year without the expected convening of a committee to consider legislation to respond to violence against women and children.

The weekend killings of two women in separate alleged domestic disputes with their male companions have placed the issue back into the spotlight.

Yesterday, 18-year-old Shantea Thelwell, of Wells Lane in Sandy Bay, Hanover was stabbed to death allegedly by her boyfriend during a dispute.

A day earlier, 31-year-old Kerry-Ann Wilson, was allegedly beaten to death by her common-law husband at her Crystal Towers Apartment in St Andrew.

In July following the murder of three-year-old Nevalesia Campbell in St Ann, Gender Affairs Minister, Olivia Grange told the House that a joint select committee of the Parliament was to be reconvened to continue examining the Offences Against the Person Act, the Sexual Offences Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

At the time she said the committee went dormant in 2014 under the previous government but, following consultations with justice minister, Delroy Chuck, the committee was to be reconstituted and asked to continue its work.

Last week, the House met for the last time this year and there was no update on when the committee would be meeting. 

Opposition spokesman on justice Mark Golding had explained that the committee had to put its work on hold as he was its chairman and he was dealing with complex issues in other committees. 

No other joint select committee of the Parliament has been established since the new Parliament was opened in March.

At an awareness event on Sunday, civil society and gender advocates lamented the culture that perpetuates abuses against women and called for the authorities to do more to address the issue.