Members of the House of Assembly debated the Protection Against Violence Bill on Thursday. The bill aims to establish a commission to inform policy, promote human rights awareness, provide resources for specialized services, review laws related to sexual and domestic violence and promote education.

Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador led the debate speaking of what is expected from the commission the bill seeks to establish.  He said, “the work of the commission is about providing immediate support and access to justice and it also about being there in the aftermath because the need for care is ongoing and often requires long term support.  Additionally, the commission will be funded by the government but the bill also allows, as indicated, for the establishment of the protection against violence foundation which will be used to raise funds to support the commission.”

The Prime Minister also spoke to the benefits the bill provides to victims. “You’ll have the right to confidentiality from all people who provide any kind of relevant services or support to you including member of the commission itself and persons acting on behalf of the commission.  That confidentiality will apply to your identity, the offenders identity, the identity of witnesses and the circumstances of the offence. To infringe on this right will be punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or up to one year imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment.”