Drafting of new domestic violence legislation in final stage
The government is in the final stage of drafting the new domestic violence legislation, which will cater to newer forms of violence and further protect and respond to the societal ill of domestic violence affecting Guyanese families.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud is optimistic that once the process is completed the legislation would be tabled in the National Assembly this year.
Minister Persaud told reporters Thursday that the proposed legislation saw consultations with a number of important agencies including the Guyana Bar Association and the Women Lawyers’ Association.
“With all of those recommendations, suggestions, and input we are now at the stage where crafting what we hope will be the final legislation and if all goes well, then we can… see it on the floor [National Assembly] this year,” she said. The ‘Domestic Violence Act’ of 1996 is expected to be overhauled with some 40 proposed amendments, which the government hopes will address the archaic issue of domestic violence.
Although the current domestic violence legislation has a more civil component to it, as opposed to a penal one, the new legislation will contain both.
The proposed amendments include requiring the expansion of the current Domestic Violence Act, which entails the definitions of domestic violence. This will consist of a more comprehensive definition of economic, emotional, and psychological violence.
In addition, penalties for breach of protection orders and inclusion of batterer intervention programmes and counselling as remedies under the law will be updated.
Heavy focus is also being placed on identifying mechanisms to tackle domestic violence as one of the key elements in modernising legislation and policies, ultimately strengthening systems.