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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has announced that the law is to be amended to allow for stiffer penalties for the murder of pregnant girls, especially if it can be established that the perpetrator knew of the pregnancy.
  • “This is to be treated as an aggravating feature in determining the sentence imposed by the court," she said.
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller made the announcement during her contribution to the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on March 24.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has announced that the law is to be amended to allow for stiffer penalties for the murder of pregnant girls, especially if it can be established that the perpetrator knew of the pregnancy.

“This is to be treated as an aggravating feature in determining the sentence imposed by the court, so that the murderer receives significantly harsher punishment in the form of a longer sentence,” she said.

Mrs. Simpson Miller made the announcement during her contribution to the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on March 24.

“The abuse of our nation’s children weighs heavily on my heart, and I know on the hearts of every well thinking Jamaican. This is an ugly subject, a shameful matter.  It is unacceptable and unworthy of us as a nation,” the Prime Minister said.

She lamented that the worst forms of violence are being perpetrated against the nation’s children, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

“Research has shown that one girl in every five aged 15-19 years who are sexually active, has reported being forced to have sex. Research by the Office of the Children’s Registry indicates that only 1 in 10 adult Jamaicans, despite knowing, come forward with information to the Police about cases of abuse against children, including sexual abuse,” she said.

Condemning the acts being meted out to the nation’s children, she encouraged Jamaicans to recognise, report and reject the violation of the nation’s children.

“This is unacceptable! We cannot remain silent! Cases of incest and sexual abuse in the family setting are also very unsettling. It is a crime.  It is evil. It must be condemned. Big men and women, some fathers and mothers, step-fathers, uncles and cousins, who prey on children, must leave our little children alone,” she urged.

She called on Jamaicans to make reports to the relevant agencies, including the Office of the Children’s Registry, the Child Development Agency, and the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, (CISOCA).

In the meantime, the Prime Minister said efforts must be intensified to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against the children to justice.

She encouraged parents and guardians to continue to be vigilant in protecting the wellbeing of the country’s children.

“I wish to commend all parents who are making sacrifices every day to protect and nurture their children; teachers who are mentoring and guiding our children; social workers and counsellors who are working with families to heal the hurt and keep families together; and citizens and neighbours who are taking action to report crimes against our children,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The theme of the Prime Minister’s presentation was – ‘Moving Forward: Jobs, Growth and Development’.