Attorney General, Levi Peter, has said amendments to the Sexual Offenses Act will be tabled and debated at the next sitting of parliament.
He said the matter has already been discussed with various stakeholders.
“I anticipate that a date for the next parliament and a date which I would anticipate this particular piece of legislation will be tabled and debated…” he stated at the opening of the new Law Year earlier this week.
He called for support from legislators and those in the legal profession.
“That is something, I hope that all of us as legal professionals in one way or the other will lend our support …the overall objective is ensure that the type of offenses which the legislation addresses is reduced if not eliminated from our society,” he stated.
Peter said there have been significant calls made for legislative changes to the Act.
In June the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth expressed disappointment that the matter was not discussed in parliament, although it was told it would be.
There were 135 reported cases of child sexual abuse in Dominica in 2014.
Sexual offenses dominated the Criminal Assizes in 2015, with a total of twenty-four cases in January, nine in April, and eight in September. Cases ranged from indecent assault, unlawful sexual intercourse, incest, rape, and buggery.
On March 7, 2016, Peter announced that a draft Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill, comprising of 17 sections, would soon be taken to Parliament for approval.
In June 2016, Justice Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore announced that the draft Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill would go before Parliament before the end of the year. He called the amended Act a duty owed to youth, women, and other vulnerable groups.