by Felicia Browne and Alicia Nicholls
Victims of domestic violence in Barbados are on the verge of receiving greater protection. The Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Amendment Act, Cap 130A was recently passed by the House of Assembly and is currently before the Senate for debate. The Act, which seeks to make several sweeping changes to domestic violence protection available to victims, has evoked mostly public approval for the increased protection of women, men and children that are victims of domestic violence. In this article, we will attempt to discuss some of the salient features of the amended Act.
Domestic violence legislative framework
The legislative framework for domestic violence protection in Barbados is based primarily on the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act, Cap 130A, the Sexual Offences Act and the Offences Against the Person Act. The main Act, however, is the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act of 1993 which provides for the granting of protection orders in domestic violence and related matters. Marital rape, however, is covered in the Sexual Offences Act. Barbados has also ratified both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on October 16, 1980 and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication for Violence against Women on May 16, 1995. It should be noted that the domestic violence legislation in Barbados is not limited to violence against women and recognises that men could also be victims of abuse at the hands of a female spouse or partner. A male spouse or partner in a cohabitational or visiting relationship, once falling within the definitions of the Act, may also seek relief under the Act. Additionally, the Act also recognizes that children can be victims of domestic violence.
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