Parliamentary committee proposes recommendations to curb domestic violence

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KINGSTON, Jamaica —A Joint Select Committee of Parliament has submitted recommendations from a review of four critical pieces of legislations, which are intended to provide women and children with greater against domestic violence.

These are: the Domestic Violence Act, Offences against the Persons Act, Child Care and Protection Act, and Sexual Offences Act.

Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Olivia Grange, said the review was done in order to introduce new and harsher penalties for the perpetrators of domestic violence.

“The Government is also finalising the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Bill, which will be brought to the House of Representatives in the short term,” the minister added.

She was speaking at an International Women’s Day symposium at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston yesterday.

The event was held under the theme: ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’ #BalanceForBetter.

Grange advised that greater support is being provided during the 2019/20 fiscal year for women who are victims of domestic violence, with the purchase of two shelters valued $86 million.

These facilities, she indicated, will be located in western and eastern Jamaica.

Last year, the Government purchased property in central Jamaica at a cost of over $34million, which is currently being renovated.

On completion, it will be operated as Jamaica’s first State-run shelter for domestic violence victims.

“It will provide a safe-haven for women who need rescue due to the threat of gender-based violence and will provide counselling, psycho-social support and skills training to victims of gender-based violence, their children as well as survivors of intimate partner and others forms of domestic violence,” Grange said.

Director of Policy and Research at the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Coburn Robinson, said that the shelters will assist in strengthening the agency’s work, as well as facilitate increased victim intake.

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