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Jan 11, 2019

Sexual Offences Model Bill is to Address Deficiencies in Existing Laws

Leslie Mendez

Attorney-at-law Leslie Mendez is working with the Building People Movement on the drafting of the bill. Today, she says they are looking to strengthen existing laws and legislation in other countries. The aim, according to Mendez, is to ultimately have a set of sexual offences laws that are comprehensive.

 

Leslie Mendez, Attorney-at-law

“At this point in time what we are doing, we are consulting and hear from the community and organizations that work with sexual offences victims so that they can help us identify where the law doesn’t provide for the situation on the ground. The first draft that we have is based on drafts on acts that we saw in various countries in the region, as well as Miss Dorla indicated the CARICOM model bill on sexual offences. So, that is what we are starting to work with. In terms of that, we are considering the position on marital rape in Belize, the deficiencies on sexual assaults and rapes and discussing possible gender neutrality of our laws and pushing for gender neutrality of our laws. So, this is the first step and this forum is helping us to identify the deficiencies in the laws.”

 

Reporter

“What are some of the concerns the participants had here today?”

 

Leslie Mendez

“Well, lot of the concerns had to do with the sexual offenders’ notification registry and how it would work. How the acts will interact with each other because they are two separate legal instruments that touch and concern that. That is why are trying to establish one comprehensive act that deals with sexual offences in Belize.  They also had concerns about the treatment of juveniles, children offenders, not just as victims but as offenders. We are really trying to carve out the law on how to address them; the appropriate sanctions; the services that we should really be providing and what we can do in terms of the bill that we present – that all of those things are included.”

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