Guyana bringing new domestic violence legislation

GEORGETOWN – The Guyana government says it hopes to table new legislation dealing with domestic violence by year end, as it is now in the final stages of drafting the proposed legislation.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud, said the new legislation will cater to newer forms of violence and further protect and respond to the societal ill of domestic violence affecting Guyanese families.

She told reporters that consultations have been held with various stakeholders including the Guyana Bar Association and the Women Lawyers’ Association.

“With all of those recommendations, suggestions, and input we are now at the stage where crafting what we hope will be the final legislation and if all goes well, then we can… see it on the floor [National Assembly] this year,” she said.

The ‘Domestic Violence Act’ of 1996 is expected to be overhauled with at least 40 proposed amendments, which the government said it hopes will address the archaic issue of domestic violence.

It notes that while the current domestic violence legislation has a more civil component to it, as opposed to a penal one, the new legislation will contain both and that the proposed amendments include requiring the expansion of the current Domestic Violence Act, which entails the definitions of domestic violence.

In addition, penalties for breach of protection orders and inclusion of batterer intervention programmes and counselling as remedies under the law will be updated.

The proposed legislation will also place emphasis on identifying mechanisms to tackle domestic violence as one of the key elements in modernising legislation and policies, ultimately strengthening systems. (CMC)


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