Legislation being strengthened to protect women against violence

Kingston, 8 March 2021 (JIS) - State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Alando Terrelonge, says the Government continues to work to strengthen legislation aimed at eliminating acts of violence against women.

“From a national perspective, we have taken several measures to combat violence against women. Jamaica has ratified several gender-related international instruments that promote the protection and preservation of human rights and discourage gender-based violence,” he said.

Mr. Terrelonge was addressing the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) HIV, Law & Human Rights virtual symposium, held today (March 8), under the theme ‘Unmasking Violence against Women within the context of HIV and AIDS’.

This theme is in keeping with the issues of sexual and gender-based violence and its intersectionality with HIV.

The virtual symposium was part of the local activities to commemorate International Women’s Day 2021.

The State Minister said that some progress has been made in fulfilling its obligations under these instruments in adopting, signing and amending gender legislation to address the prevalence of gender-based violence.

“Sexual offences against women, children and the elderly and other such violent crimes have taken prominence in terms of addressing sentences, among other things,” he added.

The State Minister said recommendations have also been made for legislation to be amended to facilitate better administration of justice and effective protection of these special groups of persons.

Some of these recommendations include harsher penalties for breaching the Domestic Violence Act.

Mr. Terrelonge said another landmark achievement in addressing violence against women is the Sexual Harassment Bill, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on July 9, 2019.

“A Joint Select Committee has been set up and is looking at that legislation and its provisions, to make sure that it becomes a reality soon,” he said.

The symposium aimed to show the connectivity between gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS, as well as to facilitate discussions on the impact of violence against women and its classification as a human rights violation and the role of government and other key stakeholders in protecting the rights of women, particularly those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

END

Minister's charge

I remain hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaican people; their warmth and creativity; their dynamism and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening the spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, re-group, re-engineer and re-open to a brighter future with Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Olivia Grange

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