Social Protection Ministry beefs up fight against sexual, domestic violence
GUYANA, GINA, Thursday, June 01, 2017
The Ministry of Social Protection’s Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit today, began training of frontline operators from Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine to better address this scourge.
This two-day training is being held at the Cara Lodge and is facilitated Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire.
Its aim is to increase their knowledge about sexual and domestic violence and their ability to respond effectively when intervening in sexual, domestic and gender based violence cases.
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Protection, Adrian Ramrattan told the participants that sexual offences and domestic violence are heinous crimes that should be rooted out from society, hence, the Ministry of Social Protection wants to eliminate both of these scourges quickly, and has several plans to do so.
Ramrattan explained that the Ministry “will enhance enforcement of the international instruments we have signed on to in the quest against the twin evil. At this point, I think it is timely to remind us that Guyana does not lag behind ratifying international instruments to help combat the twin scourge of domestic and sexual violence.”
He added that the Ministry will also forge alliances with civil society agencies, and Non-Governmental Institutions to achieve the goal of stopping domestic and sexual violence, and it will also enhance public programmes using social and multimedia to combat the scourge. These efforts will help to promote a safe haven for victims.
“We are outraged that sexual and domestic violence victims still fear reporting the crimes against them; we are outraged that some of the reported cases never make it to trial, and we are even more outraged that there are so few successful prosecutions. With your support, we can make our homes safer,” Ramrattan related.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire highlighted that the Sexual Offences Act 2010 is gender neutral. The Acting
Chief Justice said the Act applies to both males and females whether the perpetrators or victims are male or female.
“Originally, sexual offences especially rape could have only been committed by a male against a female but now based on the rape definition is much much wider than that,” The Acting Chief Justice said.
Acting Chief Justice, George-Wiltshire explained that the Sexual Offences Act repeals and replaces most of the provisions in the Criminal Law Act Chapter 8:01 that dealt with sexual offences though offences such as indecent assault and those classified as offences against morality.
However, there are a number of challenges to the implementation of the Act, as well as legal issues which are open to discussion regarding the constitutionality of some provisions.
Nevertheless, the Act is a work in progress and there will be changes that will fight against sexual and domestic violence.
The participants hail from professions including Regional Health Officers, Community Development Officers (hinterland), Schools’ Welfare Officers and Social Work Practitioners.
By: Ranetta La Fleur