Gov’t inches closer to ‘overhaul’ sexual offences law with consultant now hired
As part of efforts to counter sexual violence in Guyana, a consultant has been hired and will soon commence the long-anticipated review of the 2010 Sexual Offences Act, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has disclosed.
During a media engagement at the Ministry of Legal Affairs on Monday, Nandlall said this review will bridge possible gaps in the legislation and make room for amendments as needed.
“We are overhauling the Sexual Offences Act. A consultant has already been retained and will soon begin work. Fortunately, we were able to get the very person who drafted the Act some ten years ago to resume working on the Act with a view of correcting whatever gaps we discovered in the legislation and whatever weaknesses there are,” Nandlall said.
Last year, the Attorney General Chambers completed a long-awaited law revision process which allowed for the updating of existing laws.
“We are working on that also to expand the legislation to cover areas that it [Sexual Offences Act] does not cover,” Nandlall said.
This crucial change in the law is expected to add to provisions in the existing Prevention of Discrimination Act and provide greater support and protection for people in Guyana.
“We are also finalizing the Family Violence Bill which we hope will replace the domestic violence legislation,” Nandlall also said.
The Attorney General previously said that the government is committed to stamping out domestic and sexual violence which it has recognized to be a prevailing social problem.
He said the administration will continue to explore new initiatives that will have a curative effect on these forms of violence.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security had also said that her ministry has been working assiduously with local, regional and international partners to prevent unfortunate occurrences of sexual violence.
The 1996 Domestic Violence Act is also being reviewed. Based on a legal analysis of the Act, researchers had presented more than 40 proposed amendments.
These proposed amendments include the need to expand the current Domestic Violence Act to include expansion of the definitions of domestic violence; including more comprehensive definitions of economic, emotional and psychological violence; updating the penalties for breach of protection orders; and inclusion of batterer intervention programmes and counselling as remedies under the law.