JIS News

Senator Dorothy Lightbourne has proposed that the office of the Children’s Advocate be expanded to protect the interest of children in civil, criminal, property estate and divorce proceedings.
Her call comes in the wake of the recent cases of violence against the nation’s children, including murders.
Senator Lightbourne, who was making her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday (March 10), also recommended that the office of the Children’s Advocate be charged with monitoring children’s homes and places of safety, and to consider the report of the committee, which reviewed these state homes, and to implement the recommendations.
Pointing to the need for greater protection for children and women, Senator Lightbourne recommended that a shelter be established for pregnant girls, teenaged mothers and battered women, and that tax incentives be provided for firms, which establish day care facilities.
She further called for a review of the legislation on incest, to improve its effectiveness, and for the implementation of gender sensitive health and education to protect women and children, who face risks of HIV infection.
“I propose a revision of Section 50 of the Offences against the Person Act to clear up ambiguity as it regards the knowledge and abuse of a girl above 12 years and under 16, which is a misdemeanour, with a penalty of up to seven years,” she said.
The Senator further suggested that legislation be introduced to deal with sexual harassment and workplace discrimination as well as to ensure conformity with international declarations recognising the rights of women and children.
Subsidized screenings for breast and cervical cancers and the reconvening of the joint select committee considering amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act, to include gender-neutral offences, were also among Senator Lightbourne’s recommendations.