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THURSDAY 28 AUGUST 2014

Parliament has passed the Family protection Bill 2014 on Wednesday the 27th of August 2014.

The Bill when it becomes an Act prohibits conducts, or threats of such conduct, committed by a person against another person. This includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse. These forms of abuse are further defined in the Bill.

The Bill when becomes an Act will provide for the protection of families from domestic violence and to promote the safety, health and well-being of victims of domestic violence and for related purposes.

The Act has the following objectives:

  • To ensure the safety and protection of all persons who experience or witness domestic violence and
  • To provide, support and redress for all victims of domestic; and
  • To facilitate programs for victims of domestic violence to assist their recovery and ensure that they are able to lead a safe and healthy life; and
  • To facilitate the issue and enforcement of police safety notices and protection orders to stop domestic violence; and
  • To Implement certain principles underlying the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the convention of the rights of the child; and
  • To create offences in relation to domestic violence and provide for increased sentences for persons convicted of such offences where certain aggravating factors are present.

It also defines the types of relationships in which domestic violence can occur. The Bill is a mixture of criminal and civil law. Whilst it criminalizes behaviors relating to domestic violence, it also provides civil remedies to protect victims in ensuring their safety.

The Act recognizes police safety notices, protection orders, assistance to victims of domestic violence, advice, counseling, prevention and awareness of domestic violence and offences.

The Bill defines domestic violence as a conduct committed by a person against another person with whom the offender is in a domestic relationship, or the threat of such conduct, that constitutes any of the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse and
  • Economic abuse

The Act further states that a person is in a domestic relationship with another person if;

  • They are or have been family members or
  • They are parents of a child or persons who have or have had parental responsibility together for a child; or
  • They are or were in an engagement, courtship or customary relationship including an actual or perceived intimate sexual relationship of any duration; or
  • One person is a domestic worker in the other person’s household.

The penalty for committing domestic violence is $30,000 or a 3 year imprisonment term or both.

The Bill was passed with no amendments.

Ends//.

 

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“Violence against women has been called ‘the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world’.”

- Najib Assifi, 2007

Director, Pacific Sub-Regional Office and UNFPA Representative

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