Jamaica News: 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, Hon. Olivia Grange, says 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 on March 8.
The event was held under the theme: ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’ #BalanceForBetter.
Ms. 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 further 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,” Ms. Grange said.
Director of Policy and Research at the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), Sharon Coburn Robinson, told JIS News that the shelters will assist in strengthening the agency’s work, as well as facilitate increased victim intake.
“Prior to now, [we had] overnight shelters… for just a period of time. The structures that we have taken on are… enclosed, private and confidential. They [will] allow the female… [if she is a mother] to take her small children to allow the family [to remain] together,” she said.
The symposium, which was held in observance of International Women’s Day on March 8, brought together women from a wide range of sectors, including: government, the military, business, medicine, agriculture, and religion, to celebrate womanhood and share success stories.
Mrs. Coburn Robinson explained that the BGA’s mandate is to ensure that the needs of women are met, adding that the Day was chosen to communicate this message.
During the symposium, the 2018 Rural Women’s Achiever and Rural Girls Rock Awards were presented.
The Rural Women’s Achiever Award acknowledges the outstanding contribution of rural women to nation-building.
It also identifies and supports the capabilities of rural women and girls to emerge as leaders and change agents within their communities.
The Rural Girls Rock Award is intended to empower rural young girls by highlighting their academic achievements and contribution to community and national development.
Recipients of the Rural Women’s Achiever Award were: Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Sergeant Rochelle McGibbon-Scott from the St. Mary Division Community Safety and Security Branch, and President of the St. Ann Disabilities Association, Millicent Sankey.
Student of Brimmervale High School in St. Mary, Tackeisha Johnson, received the Rural Girls Rock Award.
Source: JIS News