Discussions Begin on Amending Sexual Offences Act

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Monday 20th May, 2019-Discussions surrounding proposed amendments to the Antigua and Barbuda Sexual Offences Act of 1995 began today with key stakeholders meeting to review the current legislation.

The meeting which was chaired by the Attorney General the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin and also included Professor Velma Newton, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice and Charlene Walkes also of the Impact Justice Project, Deniscia Thomas (Parliamentary Counsel), Susan Jarvis (Law Revision Commissioner), Adlai Smith (Director of Law Reform), Deputy Solicitor Carla Harris Brooks, Alicia Aksa Senior Grown Counsel and Jeniece St. Romain (Crown Counsel).

Benjamin welcomed Professor Newton and her assistant to Antigua and Barbuda and thanked her for accepting the invitation to assist with the recommendations and subsequent amendments to the Sexual Offences Act 1995.

The attorney general says the time has come to update the laws of Antigua and Barbuda, consistent with what is currently taking place in society today.

The group discussed in detail the proposed amendments, suggestions and identified areas that must be examined with urgency. Topics of rape, incest and other sexual offences were addressed. The establishment of a registry was also addressed.

IMPACT’s representatives will also assist Antigua and Barbuda with the training of personnel and public sensitization campaign with regards to legislative reform.

The necessary Amendments to the Sexual Offences Act 2019 are expected to be completed and tabled before parliament by September of 2019.