Minister Gloria Shillingford

Amendments could soon be made to the country’s Sexual Offences Act.

These revelations were made by Dominica’s Social Services Minister Gloria Shillingford.

Her remark comes on the heels of a recent United Nations Children Fund study which indicated that there is an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases in Dominica.

Shillingford told a consultation at the Holy Redeemer Retreat House in Egleston this morning that her ministry has suggested that considerations be given for an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act.

According to Shillingford, who is also the Gender Affairs minister, the act will “deal with persons who pervert the course of justice by making out-of-court settlements in cases of child abuse,” she said.

She said she is also mindful of members of society who question the severity of the law in terms of penalties which can be imposed by the court.

But according to Shillingford, the Sexual Offences Act Chapter 1 of 1998 contains severe penalties for persons who sexually abuse children.

“Incest carries a maximum of 25 years if committed by an adult with a person under 14 years of age. In cases of sexual intercourse with a person between14-16 a maximum prison term of 14 years may be imposed. The imposition of such prison term rests with those who administer justice in our courts,” Shillingford said.

She said the vigilance of parents and society is essential to the level of protection for children.

Shillingford also advised parents to be on their guard since those they trust can become betrayers.