Added: Cirilo Sherrod - Date: 24.01.2022 06:43 - Views: 34300 - Clicks: 8467
Within the English-speaking Caribbean there have been substantial improvements in the laws governing gender-based violence. All of the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean have enacted domestic violence legislation. These Acts provide no definition of domestic violence and the scope of persons who could seek relief was very limited. Following these, was the CARICOM Model legislation on domestic violence in which has been very influential in the development of domestic violence legislation across the region.
This model does not provide a definition for domestic violence. It allows for the making of protection orders, occupation orders and tenancy orders. These countries have widened the range of offences, increased penalties, removed all exemptions from marital rape prosecution, improved measures to protect victims during police investigation and court proceedings and have provisions in place to keep track of sex offenders after they have served their sentence.
As regards sexual harassment, only a handful of countries have enacted legislation which expressly prohibit sexual harassment and provide legal remedies for victims of sexual harassment. In Jamaica, there has been a recent and ificant development at common law. The development of new Child Protection frameworks have also played a critical role in shaping the legal responses to gender based by providing stronger mechanisms for addressing child abuse and maltreatment, including sexual abuse of girls and young women.
The older approach was condemned in the legal research that formed the basis of the OECS Family Law and Domestic Violence Reform Project as not sufficiently affording meaningful protection of children. Vincent and Grenada. Domestic violence legislation in the English-speaking Caribbean generally protect against physical violence and harassment.
InTrinidad and Tobago took the lead in providing a comprehensive definition of domestic violence to include physical violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse and financial abuse. Recognizing that psychological abuse may be very difficult to prove, the legislation expressly provides examples of the type of conduct which amounts to psychological abuse. Bermuda, Guyana, Jamaica, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago have gone much further by allowing persons in an intimate relationship although not living together as husband and wife non-cohabiting relationships to seek relief.
Some territories further allow persons who are not directly affected by the violence police officers, social workers, persons with sufficient interest Bermuda to apply for protection order on the behalf of a person who is being abused. Persons involved in same-sex relationships are generally excluded from those who can seek relief under domestic violence legislation. In some territories however, they can seek relief under domestic violence legislation by applying for an order as a member of the household Jamaica, Belize or by virtue of being in a close personal relationship with the abusive person Bermuda or by virtue of being in a sexual relationship with the abusive person Guyana.
In the case of Anguilla, which is one of the only Caribbean countries yet to pass domestic violence legislation, its Draft Domestic Violence Bill proposes the progressive stance of extending the protective mandate of the legislation to same sex relationships.
Under domestic violence legislation, there is a wide range of orders which can be made by the court. All domestic violence legislation allow for protection orders but only some provide for occupation orders and tenancy orders. The magistrate is generally authorized to make an order which prohibits the abusive person from engaging in abusive conduct, excludes the abusive person from the home and gives the victim the right to occupy the home.
There are additional orders which a magistrate can make. The magistrate can direct the abusive person to pay money: for the benefit of the abused person, for the benefit offor rent, mortgage, utilities etc. Maintenance orders may be made under the domestic violence legislation in The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica. In Guyana, the court may further deal with the issue of child custody. Victims of domestic violence in Belize, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas may receive compensation from the abusive person for losses incurred as a result of the violence suffered.
This compensation is generally for loss of earnings, medical and dental expenses, moving and accommodation expenses and reasonable legal costs. There is usually a cap on the amount that the victim can receive. With the exception of Saint Lucia, domestic violence legislation in the English speaking Caribbean do not expressly criminalize domestic violence.
They provide what is called quasi — criminal relief. It is only where there is a breach of an order of the court which was made in the domestic violence proceedings that criminal sanctions apply. The distinction between criminal and civil proceedings reinforces the fact that the domestic violence legislation is geared at protection of the victim and the criminal codes or other criminal law statutes underscore the objective of holding abusive offenders able for their unlawful conduct.
It is expected that the two legal interventions will be used together to provide a comprehensive legal response to domestic violence. Counselling is mandatory in a few countries. In The Bahamas and Barbados for example, whenever the court makes a protection order it must also instruct the parties to receive counselling. In other countries such as Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, it is left to the discretion of the court whether any of the parties should be directed to receive counselling.
A report from the person conducting the counselling sessions must be provided to the court in some countries. In some countries, there is a penalty for refusing the attend counselling when ordered by the court to do so. It is important to note that in many of these countries the victim and the abuser are sent to attend the same counseling intervention and they attend together.
In some countries the court may enter into a bond of good behaviour with the abusive person. This option is to be considered in very limited circumstances and court must seek the permission of the person who was abused before it decides to enter into such a bond.
This may be viewed as allowing the victim of domestic violence to exercise some degree of agency with respect to how the court disposes of the matter. There is however the danger that the abused person will be at risk of further violence if the abusive person fails to honour the bond. The bond of good behaviour may be forfeited by the court. Belize and St Kitts — Nevis allow for the making of rehabilitation orders.
Where a person is convicted of committing an offence under the domestic violence legislation, the court may make a rehabilitation order instead of sentencing the person to imprisonment or imposing a fine. It is only in limited circumstances that the court may make a rehabilitation order. The court must also consider the submissions of the abused person on the matter and may impose certain conditions on the rehabilitation order. Batterer intervention programmes have been introduced in the Caribbean.
The programme advances male responsibility for ending violence against women, not only individually but collectively. The development in Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada and Belize is to expressly set out the mandatory response obligations of the police. The police are under a duty to respond to every report of domestic violence. Upon responding, they are to take all reasonable measures to assist the person being abused and should thereafter complete a domestic violence report. Saint Kitts - Nevis and The Bahamas sets out the likely scenarios that a police officer may face upon intervening in a domestic violence matter and provide guidelines for the police officer as regards how they should respond.
The rights are supposed to be presented in written form and include:. Belize, Dominica, Guyana and Saint Kitts — Nevis make it mandatory for police officers who have responded to a domestic violence complaint to complete a domestic violence report.
This reporting obligation is an integral feature of the OECS model legislation and has now come into effect in other states, including Grenada. In Guyana, St Kitts-Nevis and The Bahamas a police officer who is in charge of a police station has a legal duty to ensure that all records of domestic violence are properly compiled so as to facilitate easy reference to data. Police officers are authorized to enter any premises where they reasonably suspect that a person has suffered physical injury or is in imminent danger of physical injury.
The police are further authorized to assist the victim and arrest the abusive person. In other countries, it is only where the abusive person breaches the protection order by engaging in or threatening to engage in physical violence, that the police may arrest the abusive person. In countries such as Barbados and The Bahamas, it is the abused person who must apply to the court for a power of arrest to be attached to the protection order. In Guyana, St Kitts — Nevis and The Bahamas the police officer in charge of the police station has a duty to ensure that the identity of the persons involved in a domestic violence matter is kept confidential.
In Guyana, interviews with victims of domestic violence are to be carried out in an area of the police station which provides the utmost privacy. Domestic violence legislation generally authorize the magistrate to exclude the public from the courtroom when hearing a domestic violence matter. In some countries domestic violence proceedings must be heard in camera while in others it is left to the discretion of the magistrate. There tends to be restrictions on the publication or broadcast of identifying information of persons involved in a domestic violence matter which is before the court.
This restriction may be removed only in very limited circumstances. Common law development. The tort of harassment is now recognized at common law. It would fill the gap between assaults and the tort of intentional harm. One of the primary features in domestic violence is harassment. Victims of domestic violence now have an additional basis on which they can get obtain protection under the law. The new development across the region is to criminalize forced non-traditional sexual activities.
Forced oral sex, forced penetration of the anus or vagina by an object are now recognized as:. As regards the protection of children and persons suffering from mental disorder hew offences include:. In a few countries, it is a criminal offence for a person who has a sexually transmitted infection to have sexual intercourse with another person without informing that person of the infection. This is the position in Anguilla, Bermuda and The Bahamas. Saint Lucia criminalizes only the intentional or reckless infection of a person with HIV. In Saint Lucia, the penalty for intentionally or recklessly infecting a person with HIV is imprisonment for ten years.
In The Bahamas if a person knows or had reasonable cause to believe that the person with whom he agrees to have sexual intercourse with is infected with HIV and then has sexual intercourse with the infected person, the accused person has a sufficient defence to the charge and may not be convicted of the offence. However, in Saint Lucia, if a person consents to being infected with HIV, this is not a defence to the charge for the accused person. Any increased stigmatization of persons living with HIV may further discourage persons from getting tested and also discourage persons from disclosing their status.
This may further serve to fuel the epidemic. Rape is a crime but generally Caribbean statutes did not define who could commit it. It was left up to judges and the common law to clarify when the crime could be committed. For many years, judges said that a husband could not commit rape upon his wife except in some exceptional circumstances. Marriage was to be viewed as a partnership between husband and wife who were equals in the eyes of the law. The court said that it was anachronistic to assume that a woman had irrevocably given her consent to having sexual intercourse with her husband by virtue of being married.
Where a statute speaks of the offence of rape, it must be interpreted to include non — consensual sex by a husband with his wife. Aftermany Caribbean countries adopted a measured and conservative statutory position. They restricted the circumstances under which marital rape or sexual assault by a spouse could be committed. The Bahamas, The British Virgin Islands, Belize and most recently Jamaica enacted legislation which limits the circumstances in which a husband can be prosecuted for forcing his wife to have sexual intercourse with him.
The Bahamas and The British Virgin Islands further require the consent of the Attorney General for a husband to be prosecuted for non-consensual sexual intercourse with his wife. Trinidad and Tobago inBermuda in and Guyana in have brought their laws in line with the current common law position. In Bermuda, the offence is called sexual assault. In some territories, for example, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands forced sexual intercourse is not called rape. It is referred to as sexual assault.
In Anguilla, Antigua, Grenada and Barbuda and The Bahamas, forced sexual intercourse within marriage is called sexual assault. The scope of persons who are protected against rape is widened to include men and boys. The penalties for sexual offences have been strengthened in a few countries. Trinidad and Tobago increased penalties generally, especially for those sexual offences involving children and with respect to repeat sex offenders. Belize now mandates a sentence of life imprisonment for certain repeat sex offenders. In Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago victims of sexual offences can receive compensation from the convicted person for the monetary loss suffered as a result of the offence.Sex relations Portal
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Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationship