The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is commencing public consultation on amendments to the Domestic Violence Act. These consultations will be held to gather recommendations to form part of the updated act.
Domestic Violence has long been present in Guyana’s society and to counter this prevalent issue, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is looking to institute harsher penalties for abusers while expanding the definitions of domestic abuse.
The Ministry is currently in the process of overhauling and updating the Domestic Violence Act of 1996.
Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr. Vindhya Persaud said the first draft of this act is complete.
“That’s going to be out for public consumption and consultation and very shortly […] within a couple of days, and then we’ll have about three weeks to a month for us to get those recommendations,” Minister Persaud told Reporters on the sidelines of an event recently.
The Minister explained that this is a very expansive type of legislation where it will include newer forms of domestic violence.
The Minister in January received over 40 proposed amendments to the current act including expansion if the definitions of ‘domestic violence’; inclusion of more comprehensive definitions of ‘economic, emotional and psychological violence’; updating the penalties for breach of protection orders; and inclusion of batterer intervention programmes and counselling as remedies under the law. Dr. Persaud added that she is optimistic the bill will be tabled in the National Assembly before the end of the year.
“Our legislative agenda is very filled with a number of important pieces of legislation but we’ve gone quite a good way, moving this process forward. So once it is at a stage where it could be presented we are hopeful that if not before the end of the year, very early next year.”