NGO Coalition for Protection of Children and Youth welcomes amendments to the Sexual Offences Act. A release says “We are pleased that the Dominican Judiciary now has tougher penalties available to mete out to those convicted of sexual offences. This is particularly true for repeat offenders. Another strategy for preventing repeat offences would be for the police to hold an effective Sexual Offenders Register”.
“Be they pedophiles abusing children, adults exploiting teenage girls and boys, family members or spouses, we hold that no one should have any sexual contact with another without consent, regardless of their gender, orientation, marital status, position of power or financial means”.
“No one under the age of 16 can legally consent so all sexual contact with children is criminal. The NGO Coalition pledges itself to campaign for a multi-disciplinary Special Victims Unit to be established that avoids re-traumatizing the survivors both children and adults. We call on the Police, the Welfare Division, the DMOs and the DPP's office to work together. We also call on Government to ensure that these Child Protection Agents are properly resourced”.
“We look forward to the time when it will be normal to conduct the Preliminary Inquiry as a Paper Committal whenever the defendant is accused of a sexual offence. This would avoid the current situation where victims have repeated traumatic visits to the Magistrates Court facing endless adjournments, cross examination and public shame”.
We call for an increased use of video recording so that the defense lawyers can cross examine the statements made at the time rather than seeking to intimidate and confuse the child witness months, and frequently even years, after the event.
Pastor Phillip Carlisle, member of the NGO Coalition and CARIMAN says while they appreciate the level of progress that is being made through the amendment of the act, there is still a level of ignorance among the Dominican society.
Pastor Phillip Carlisle
Coalition Membership includes CARIMAN, Dominica National Council of Women, Lifeline Ministries (Chair), Love One Teach One; National Youth Council; East Dominica Children's Federation; West Dominica Children's Federation; Dominica Association of Children's Federation; Association of Craft Producers; Planned Parenthood Association, Dominica Association of People with Disabilities, Girl Guides (Vice Chair), Social Centre & CALLS.
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