A Third Town Hall Meeting is to be held at WS Stevens Primary School Marigot on Sunday 2nd April at 4pm to explain the contents of the Amendments to the Sexual Offences Act
Hosted by the East Dominica Children’s Federation, the NGO Coalition will take the opportunity to explain that the amendments have finally been gazetted and signed into law.
It is now illegal not to report sexual abuse if you know about it.
It is now illegal to groom young people for sexual contact.
It is now illegal to take pornographic pictures of people, or distribute them, without their consent.
It is also illegal to prevent a witness testifying by paying money or any other means.
It continues to be illegal to have sexual contact or intercourse with minors under 16 who cannot consent, this is unlawful intercourse and carries a greater punishment than rape which is having sex with someone who does not consent.
The law now states that the punishments should be much harsher especially for repeat offenders or those who rape children, elders or pregnant people. Rape is rape regardless of marital status.
We would welcome media coverage and hope that the community leaders will be present to stand in solidarity with the seventeen agencies which make up the NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth as we seek to STAMP OUT GENDER BASED VIOLENCE.
We continue to be concerned about the interminable adjournments, lack of a specialist magistrate/Judge operating in a Family court, under-use of paper committals, the inadequate social services, re-traumatizing effect of the current investigation and disclosure methods and the lack of therapeutic resources for survivors.