Law aims to protect kids

| 14/09/2010

(CNS): Although the new Domestic Violence bill, which has gained support from both government and opposition, was driven by the issue of gender violence in the country, the minister responsible said it would also protect the islands’ children. Presenting the new law to his legislative colleagues last week, Mike Adam said many of society’s current problems were down to children growing up witnessing or experiencing violence and abuse in the home. He said these kids learned no other way of dealing with conflict but through violence and the goal of the legislation was to eradicate abuse from the domestic setting and protect the children as well as other family members from it. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The Protection from Domestic Violence Law 2010 aims to provide protection for specified categories of people living within a household residence from any kind of domestic violence by allowing them or third parties to apply for various protection orders.
Bringing the bill before the House, Adam explained that the law went beyond physical violence but included emotional, psychological and financial abuse as well as sexual violence. He said that the elderly, people residing in a home who weren’t direct relatives and children could all apply for protection orders of varying kinds if they were subject to abuse of any type in the place where they live. The law also provides for those being abused to remain in a home, even if the abuser is the owner or tenant, and removes the abuser.
The goal of the legislation is to try to eliminate the things which entrap mostly women and children in homes with abusers.
Adam said the legislation was a truly collaborative effort. Based on the recommendations of the special committee appointed by the previous administration in the wake of the violent murder of Estella Scott Roberts, the former director of the risis Centre and advocate on gender issues, the law seeks to expand protection for those in situations of abuse.
The minister pointed to the wider implications for society of children growing up in violent and abusive situations. “Some children only know how to deal with others in violent ways,” he said, adding that the report by crime expert Yolande Forde had pointed to violence in the domestic situation as the major contributing factor to criminality and violence in adults.
He said the bill would not only serve to protect people in the midst of abuse but it was also a piece in the puzzle of improving crime prevention in the wider community. Adam explained that nearly all of the children passing through the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (95%) had behavioural problems and most of the people perpetrating the abuse were themselves abused.
The policedealt with 167 cases of domestic violence last year, but the minister told legislative colleagues that this figure was likely to be only the tip of the iceberg as domestic abuse is notoriously under reported.
With the passing of this legislation Adam also explained that those who were abused in non-violent ways, who are controlled through psychological, emotional and increasingly financial means, would also be able to seek protection orders from their abusers. The protective net is also cast considerably wider, the minister explained, than in the previous more restrictive law, to include children, the elderly, the disabled, and other vulnerable people. It also takes into account modern family structures, so even if an abuser is not resident but is visiting the home the protections can still apply.
He explained that third parties may also apply for protection orders when they know of abuse but the abused is unwilling as a result of battered women’s syndrome or unable through fear or other circumstance to come forward themselves.
The aim of the law is to ensure that all people who could suffer at the hands of an abuser in their home can gain protection from the courts.
“Domestic violence is not acceptable,” Adam said. “This law will ensure that the court is empowered to deal with it.”
He said this type of violence could no longer be considered private or cultural. It was a community wide problem that was undermining the community as a whole and the law would offer greater protection to people from what was believe to be one of the worst abuses of human rights.
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  1. Anon says:

    It’s about time! I wish more ppl would comment and show their support for this positive change.

  2. IRON CLAD says:

    A Critical Factor Overlooked.

    Mike, I think you and everyone else is forgetting one important element.That is the Child Abuse Law that removes the legal right for parents to apply corporal discipline to their ‘peer and otherwise socially produced’ rebellious and bad children.  It should be very blatant that the removal of such discipline has only served as a MAJOR contributing factor to the BAD, REBELLIOUS and CRIMINAL young generation we have in our society today. In anyone’s good reasoning, this Law sends an ABSOLUTE message and approval to our children to behave as they please and that there will be NO repercussions to their actions. On the flip-side, should there be any self defense required by the parent, then the parent being the one who is at receiving end of the MADNESS and is also far more subject to imprisonment than the rebellious/violent child.

    Why is it that most people NO LONGER understands that corporal discipline has been around since the beginning of mankind and has NOT produced half of the number of young TERRORS as we have today??

    I say, if the parent can’t put these ‘peer/socially ailed’ children under heavy manners, then I would assume the Government do so, but unfortunately at the TAXPAYERS expense. I would imagine this must make alot of sense to our Government.

    Totally IRON CLAD.

    • Anonymous says:

      Beatees become beaters.

      • IRON CLAD says:

        NOPE, not necessarily!

        I and many others have been disciplined with the ‘rod’ and have not become child abusers NOR woman beaters.

        But again, CAN YOU NOT see the increase in BAD and REBELLIOUS children in the USA and in Cayman where this stupid law is in effect??

        Have you not been paying attention to the social aspect of the household and public overall??? Have you not MADE THE CONNECTION – removal of corporal discipline and the increase in the BAD children we have in our society?

        Still IRON CLAD

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good  bless you Mike,

    I wish this law was in court in 2007 and the was respect for the law in 2007.

    My children and I lost everything in 2007, and still not get a fair solution of the problem.   financial abuse is a big problem for this Islands and the children are the victims of this careless for the law.

    A mother should not be emotional abuse just to get right to the children, right the should have being protect be the law.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank God and Mike!!

    I am a victim and it’s nice to finally see something be done.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank God! Great Job Mike!!!

  6. nauticalone says:

    Thankfully this law is finally coming to pass…even if some twenty to thirty years past due.

    My hope is that it will have teeth and be applied more readily than, say the pensions law.

    But we’ll have to wait and see how selective the powers that be are with it’s application.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good Job, Mike!