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  • The Government is to implement harsher penalties for persons who harm children, and those who fail to protect children placed in their care.
  • This was disclosed by Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, during the Post Cabinet press briefing, held at the Office of the Prime, on May 13.
  • She informed that Cabinet has given approval for both the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA), and the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act (CJA), to be amended.

The Government is to implement harsher penalties for persons who harm children, and those who fail to protect children placed in their care.

This was disclosed by Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, during the Post Cabinet press briefing, held at the Office of the Prime, on May 13.

She informed that Cabinet has given approval for both the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA), and the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act (CJA), to be amended.

“Cabinet has also asked that the necessary administrative steps be taken to impose stiffer penalties for persons who murder, rape or commit serious violent offences against children,” the Minister said.

Senator Falconer pointed out that under the amended CJA Act, the victim’s status as a child will be treated as an aggravating feature, resulting in a substantial uplift in the sentence on conviction, while the CCPA Act will have new offences for persons who allow children to suffer abuse.

She said the proposed amendments have new offences for “parental neglect and failure of an adult to report suspected exposure of a child to sexual or other abuse.”

“Efforts are being made to ensure that cases relating to violence against children will be afforded priority scheduling, and disposal in the Courts,” the Minister said.

She emphasised that the matter of further protection for children is one that the Government has given high priority.

Senator Falconer reasoned that given the rise in the abuse and murder of children, under circumstances that are “disturbing,” the issue has “occupied the attention of Cabinet.”

The Child Care and Protection of Act of 2004, imposes a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment with hard labour, if an adult who has custody, charge or care of a child wilfully assault, physically and mentally ill-treat, neglect, abandon or expose a child to suffer any of the above.
The Act also penalizes persons who sell or traffic children and imposes a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment with hard labour not exceeding three months.