Govt. to put forward new Bill to combat domestic violence

Govt. to put forward new Bill to combat domestic violence

April 3, 2024   09:48 am

Women and Children’s Affairs State Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe says the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to amend the existing Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and present a new Bill to Parliament.

She also highlighted that plans are in progress to establish the National Commission for Women, following the introduction of the already gazetted Bill on Women’s Empowerment.

Kumarasinghe made these remarks while addressing a briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) on Tuesday (02).

“The Cabinet approved the Women’s Empowerment Bill on March 04 and subsequently the draft Bill was officially published in the gazette on March 07. It is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament soon. The Act includes provisions regarding the establishment of the National Commission for Women.”

The Women Parliamentarian’s Caucus also convened a meeting on 20 March to discuss the said Bill for which various stakeholders including the officials from the President’s Office, the Attorney General’s Department and the Legal Draftsman’s Department actively participated.

Speaking further, Kumarasinghe said the observations made by the World Bank with respect to the Bill on Women’s Empowerment were also taken into consideration at this meeting. The Caucus has decided to review the observations and re-publish the Bill in the government gazette if additional amendments are deemed necessary.

Additionally, the Bill includes several crucial clauses, such as the provision for a close associate to file a case on behalf of women facing domestic violence. The Cabinet of Ministers has also given the approval to amend the existing Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and present it to Parliament as a new Act, the state minister added.

Commenting further, she revealed that temporary detention centres for abused women have been established in Gampaha, Ratnapura, Colombo, Matara, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Monaragala, and Nuwara Eliya districts.

In addition, the Bill on Gender Equality has received the Cabinet approval and will now be forwarded to the Government Printing Press to be gazetted, Kumarasinghe continued. Moreover, the Cabinet has also given the approval to the national guidelines for the management of women’s care homes dedicated to victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

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