New legislation to protect children

Cruelty to children could lead to a $100 000 fine or ten years in prison.

The stiff penalty – along with a rash of other punishments – is contained in new laws to protect children

The new Children Protection Bill also penalises those “duty bearers” who are aware of the ill treatment of minors and do not report it or those who deliberately make false reports. In addition the offence of wandering – for which the majority of children are kept at the juvenile facilities – is no more.

The new legislation in relation to safeguarding children were revealed by Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey today in a post-Cabinet press briefing at Ilaro Court.

They are part of the Child Protection Bill laid in Parliament and expected be debated shortly and Humphrey, with Attorney General Dale Marshall, the acting Minister of Home Affairs spoke on them saying there was wide consultation by agencies and individuals.

Duty bearers such as doctors, lawyer or perhaps a person who comes across criminal information on a phone and who neglect to inform authorities, can be fined $20 000 or two years in prison; those making false reports are liable to a fine of $10 000 or one year; those who obstruct the director of the child care services face a fine of $10 000 or one year in prison; those in the foster care programme who harm a child or anyone who induce a child to run away that offence has a penalty of $25 000 or five years; those with child care facilities who do not notify about a missing child or is the reason for the children going missing the fine is $25 000 or five years; anyone impersonating a child protection officer the fine is $10 000 or two years.

“In the case where child is clearly in immediate danger where a child’s life is at risk …where a child can be expose to some undue, unforgiveable harm the law allow for the child protection authority to remove that child without a court order,” Humphrey said, adding that the officer could apply for the order within 24 hours. (AC)

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