JIS News

A Child Pornography Prevention Bill, which will criminalise the production and possession of child pornography, has been drafted, and is being circulated to a number of stakeholders for discussion and feedback.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, said the legislation is part of efforts by the Government to protect children and reduce acts of violence and abuse against them.
“The Ministry of Justice reaffirms its commitment to implementing the required policies and recommendations that will reduce the incidence of child abuse and violence and… I must tell you that we now have a draft bill.called the Child Pornography Prevention Bill. That Bill has been circulated to stakeholders such as the Children’s Advocate and the Child Development Agency. This will criminalise the production and possession of child pornography and related matters. It is a very important piece of legislation,” she stated.
The Justice Minister, who was addressing a Parenting Seminar at Pollyanna Caterers in Kingston on November 21, said that once the comments from the various stakeholders are in, “this Bill will go to the Legislation Committee and be introduced into Parliament.”
She said that the legislation will also address Internet-related pornography. “The blessings of this information age have also come with curses and children in Jamaica are vulnerable to Internet predators and the risk of child abuse online, and of course, this Bill.is intended to deal with quite a lot of the pornography and the degrading and sexual images of children that are put on the Internet.”
Turning to the Sexual Offences Bill, which among other things, makes provision for the establishment of a sex offenders’ registry and a regime for monitoring sex offenders, Senator Lightbourne informed that “this will be in Parliament before the end of this month and certainly before the end of the year.”
In the meantime, she appealed to parents to provide greater protection for their children. “The process must first begin with you, in your homes. Love your children and treat them with respect. So often we blame, shame, accuse, ridicule and belittle our children in the mistaken belief that we are disciplining them. This is abuse, not discipline,” she pointed out.
“It is important that you appreciate the difference. One is about teaching right from wrong, positive values.while the other results in fear, pain, shame, degradation and humiliation. Children need discipline, but when the methods of disciplining become violent, then the society must raise the ‘red flag’ against such acts. Other parents, neighbours, the entire community, must raise their voices in disapproval of such abuse,” Senator Lightbourne stated.
She also urged parents to be more observant of their children and develop close relationships with them.
“As parents, you must be more observant about your children. Listen to them; take a greater interest in the things that concern them. Like the adults, children have views, fears and problems and need to share with persons they can trust. By developing a close relationship with your children, you are more likely to detect sudden changes in attitudes such as shyness, fear, being unusually aggressive or passive behaviour or withdrawal. You may be able to identify signs of unhappiness, sadness or fear of anything or of anyone,” she asserted.
The seminar, organised by the Kingston and St. Andrew Family Court, was held under the theme: ‘Violence against Children’.

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