Approved amendments to Domestic Violence Act to be tabled in house early next yearFriday, November 26, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, says that the approved amendments to the Domestic Violence Act will be tabled in Parliament early next year.
She was speaking at a virtual Round Table on Domestic Violence, convened by Spotlight Initiative to commemorate the start of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.
Grange said that the Attorney General's Chamber is in the process of reviewing the amendments to the Act, to ensure that the provisions do not contradict any existing law or offend the Constitution.
“The approved amendments have already been through two rounds of review between my Ministry and the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel. And at the completion of this review, we will be able to table the amendments in Parliament, and those amendments we expect to table early in the new year, sometime in January,” she said.
Grange said that the legislation must be updated “to reflect the nuances involved in domestic violence as well as ensuring that victims have greater protection”.
“The amendments signify the Government's commitment and my personal commitment to protect our society, but more specifically our women and girls from abusive domestic situations, whether it be sexual, psychological, financial, emotional, verbal and economic,” she added.
She said among the legislative changes is the increase in the categories of persons allowed to apply for protection orders and in the prohibitive behaviour patterns. She emphasised that the amendment is critical, as it will ensure that victims will no longer be restricted to establishing a pattern of abuse before redress can be sought before a court.
“Instead, the law will give protection against the behaviour of an abuser, against the threatening or harassing behaviour of people connected to an abuser, and the law will also have provision for the confiscation of a firearm from an abuser when used in a threatening manner,” she said.
The minister said that the Government is serious about eliminating all forms of violence against women, and the public can expect “more far-reaching changes to come”.
The Round Table was the third in a series of advocacy webinars tailored to explore legislative and policy issues, gaps and solutions addressing violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.