DEBATE on the Family Protection Bill 2014 concludes on Monday.
While they showed support, Members of Parliament who contributed to the debate also expressed concern over how the Bill will impact the lives of families when it is implemented.
The Member of Parliament for East Choiseul and Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee, Manasseh Sogavare presented a powerful speech as the first member to debate the Bill.
He outlined impacts the Bill will bring about to families and given the statistics presented during the Bills and Legislation inquiries and the introduction by the Minister of Justice, Commins Mewa; Mr Sogavare described the issue of domestic violence in Solomon Islands as sickening.
“The statistics and stories of abuse are sickening. They are too graphic and immorally sensitive to describe in this Honorable house,” he said.
He said the daily newspapers are only reporting on the cases that come before the court.
“They are only a minor fraction of the number of innocent and helpless people who suffer at the hands of people they trust as members of their families.”
The Bills and Legislation Committee reviewed the Bill and made its recommendations to Parliament.
The Bill prohibits conducts, or threats of such conduct, committed by a person against another person.
This includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse. These forms of abuse are further defined in the Bill.
The Bill also defines the types of relationships in which domestic violence can occur.
The Bill is a mixture of criminal and civil law.
Whilst it criminalizes behaviors relating to domestic violence, it also provides civil remedies to protect victims in ensuring their safety.
The penalty for committing domestic violence is $30,000 or a 3 year imprisonment term or both.
Virtually, all Members of Parliament who contributed to the debate spoke highly of the introduction of the Bill and commended the Bill to the House.
Proceedings on the Bill will continue today when the Bill will be considered by the Committee of the Whole House, clause by clause.
Parliament will resume at 9:30 today.
– Parliament Media