Gov’t to soon begin review of Sexual Offences, Domestic Violence Acts

GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, April 26, 2017

The Ministry of Social Protection’s Sexual and Domestic Violence unit is working to have the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Acts reviewed for better handling of sexual offences and domestic violence cases.

In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Manager, Sexual and Domestic Violence Unit, Akilah Dorris said the aim is to have the Act more broad -based and concrete so that domestic violence will be taken more seriously in Guyana.

Manager, Sexual and Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of Social Protection, Akilah Dorris

“We really hope that once we have the revised Act in place that it provides the instrumentation and severity of offences. We want to deter perpetrators; we are really hoping that when families recognise that things aren’t going well, they can come forward and seek support rather than waiting until it escalates to a higher level,” Dorris explained.

The Sexual and Domestic Violence Manager further explained that the review is necessary since several sexual offences domestic violence cases are not properly handled. She added that the unit recognises that there have been several gaps within the legislation as it relates to the domestic violence and the sexual violence Acts. Therefore, the unit will be embarking on the review very soon.

“We would be identifying a consultant who will help us to revise the Act. We intend to have stakeholder consultations across the country,” Dorris noted.

Additionally, the month of April is nationally recognised as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Dorris pointed out that from April 24 to 30, the unit will be intensifying efforts to raise awareness to further educate the public on the repercussions of sexual offences.

“We recognise that we need to intensify our efforts, to increase awareness in the area and we would like to know what’s been going on… so we have embarked on a week of activities where we would be interacting with the public through various forms of modern media,” the Sexual and Domestic Violence Manager emphasised.

The Sexual and Domestic Violence unit is primarily responsible for ensuring and advocating for the creation and development of policies and programmes to address sexual and domestic violence in Guyana.

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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