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Dec 10, 2021

Attorney Mendez Calls Books Easy to Understand Reference

Attorney Leslie Mendez was contracted to review the current laws that govern sexual offences in Belize. She told us that while there are various pieces of legislation, there were gaps that could be plugged. In other instances, identifying the applicable portions of law or understanding the highly-technical language in which they are written was the challenge.


Leslie Mendez

Leslie Mendez, Attorney at Law

“Legal information is usually couched in very technical language, and so persons are not able to just easily understand it and translate it. So, the idea really and in particular for advocates that work for victims of sexual violence, as well as Civil Society organizations, this is meant to be a reference for them, that they can have a comprehensive, easily understandable reference of where we stand with respect to the sexual-related conduct that is criminalized in the country. One of the gaps that definitely jumped out at me and one that has been enduring in the Commonwealth Caribbean is the conditional form of marital rape. So in order for there to be marital rape, it can only happen within certain conditions, and in fact, those conditions are either violence – where it’s preceded by violence – or, where there is some form of evidence that there has been some form of separation between the spouses. Other than that, marital rape, per se, does not exist or is not criminalized in Belize outside of these specific circumstances. One of the big ones that popped out at us was the lack of any offences that cover sexual-related harassment online, for instance. And with the cyber crimes legislation, that has been addressed to some extent.”

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