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Dealing with child sexual abuse and sex offenders

Legislative changes to protect the public from sexual predators is being proposed by Government.
Among those changes, the introduction of sexual harm protection orders which attorney Richard Barton says would be an important tool in fight against sex offenders if passed.
At present child sex abuse and sex offences are addressed through charges, but amendments to the Penal Code propose action even before suspects get to court.

“I think it would have to be conceded by and large that it can only assist in demonstrating the zero tolerance approach that most jurisdictions have to sexual predators,” Mr Barton said. The proposed amendments introduce sexual harm protection orders which protects possible victims from suspects through various methods like restricting their proximity to schools. The big difference those orders can now come before the case is in court.

“That would also mean that possibly barring the suspect from an alleged class of people, schools for children would be a most obvious illustration. But the practice of it remains to be seen,” Mr Barton explained.
Mr Barton says if these amendments make it to the l-a and are passed could protect possible victims who may be harmed while the court deals with cases involving suspects.

“What this would serve to achieve is that as long as the litigation is in effect until such time that the person’s guilt is established or exonerated it offers a safety mechanism to be precluded from a class of people, a particular person or children.
He says the proposed amendments also make it easier to obtain these protections.
The amendments to the penal code are expected to be debated when the LA meets next week.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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