AG makes far-reaching modifications to Sexual Offence laws

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AG makes far-reaching modifications to Sexual Offence laws

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has been working on a host of legislation to benefit women and the news of this comes just as International Women’s Day is about to be celebrated next Monday.

He revealed to media yesterday that the planned pepper spray legislation was being finalised and there will be a modified permit process. He also said he is nearing completion on a package of amendments to deal with sexual harassment. These will be issued for public consultation before being finalised for Parliament debate.

Amendments will also involve a return to attempts to establish a Sexual Offenders Registry and witness protection for people seeking to report matters, including sexual offences.

Al-Rawi said the sexual offences law lacks specific sexual harassment offences.

“The package we propose will curtail the need for people to ‘try their luck’ with such cases in the criminal, civil or Industrial Court – it will consolidate and clarify processes to deal with this,” the AG said.

The amendments will also see new offences being covered like; sexual harassment in the workplace, on the street, when doing business and via internet sources, including social media and videos. It also covers voyeurism and extends to abuse of confidence in relationships.

Al-Rawi added, “It’s very far-reaching, revolutionary, cutting edge law which the UK, for instance, is now getting into. It covers a wide spectrum which people – particularly women and girls – might be subject to in public or private circumstances, including via chance encounter.

According to the AG, “All of these amendments combined represent things we couldn’t get done as the UNC didn’t support it. We’ve returned to the drawing board and framed the law in a way that we can pass them after seeking stakeholder views – and without UNC just opposing them and depriving the public of the benefit of protection.”