Joint Select Committee to Review Laws Against Gender-Based Violence

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, CD, MP

Story Highlights

  • A Joint Select Committee of Parliament to review legislation against gender-based violence is to be reconvened shortly.
  • “When you harm the innocent, the weak and the vulnerable you must feel the full brunt of the national law-enforcement apparatus,” Ms. Grange said.
  • “Our commitment to the women and children of Jamaica is strong and our efforts will see results. I call on the entire Parliament to join with the Government in partnership to protect our women and children and to protect all our citizens,” Ms. Grange said.

A Joint Select Committee of Parliament to review legislation against gender-based violence is to be reconvened shortly.

This was disclosed by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, in a Statement to the House of Representatives on July 12.

Some of the laws to be re-examined include the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Violence Act, the Offences Against the Person Act and the Child Care and Protection Act.

“When you harm the innocent, the weak and the vulnerable you must feel the full brunt of the national law-enforcement apparatus,” Ms. Grange said.

She explained that through the Ministry, the focus will be placed on ensuring that the range of offences and the concomitant penalties included in these laws are in keeping with the country’s crime statistics, child protection data and the types of abuses and violence taking place.

“We will also be focusing on how we facilitate and support those who are negatively affected to come forward and report abuse and maltreatment,” Ms. Grange noted.

Statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force indicate that of the number of victims of gender-based violence who seek help, only 28 per cent go to the police, seven per cent to a healthcare provider and three per cent to the church.

Meanwhile, Ms. Grange said the Child Development Agency has been seeing to the psychosocial care and well-being of the twin brother of Nevalesia Campbell, who was killed in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, last weekend.

“I wish to commend the St. Ann Police for their swift action in getting to the bottom of this terrible situation,” she added.

Ms. Grange further noted that enhancing laws that deal with the issue of violence against the most vulnerable will not be a panacea, but a key aspect of an overall approach towards building a proper framework for their protection.

“Our commitment to the women and children of Jamaica is strong and our efforts will see results. I call on the entire Parliament to join with the Government in partnership to protect our women and children and to protect all our citizens,” Ms. Grange said.

For her part, Opposition Spokesperson Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna, welcomed the decision of the Government to reconvene the sitting of the Joint Select Committee.

“I am heartened by the call for partnership, as the way we treat our children is not whether it is green or orange, but whether or not we have a real fervour for enacting the kind of Jamaica that we want to see in the next couple of years,” Ms. Hanna said.

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