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Penalty increase proposed for harassment

14 December 2015

The penalties given to people who are convicted of harassment or breaching restraining orders will be raised if amendments being drafted on behalf of the Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, are accepted.

Deputy Moore has authorised the drafting of amendments to the Crime (Disorderly Conduct and Harassment) (Jersey) Law 2008 which would increase the penalties set out in the law to deal with harassment and breaches of restraining orders to two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Amendments to the law will also be drafted which would enable a Court to make a restraining order, on conviction for any offence, to protect the victim or victims of the offence from conduct which amounts to harassment or that causes a fear of violence.

These law amendments would bring Jersey into line with British legislation where similar amendments were brought into force in the United Kingdom in 2009.

Prevention of violence is government priority

Deputy Moore said “Updating this legislation is an important part of our commitment to protecting victims and other vital work is already underway to consider further amendments to enhance the law to support the prevention of violence. The prevention of violence against women and girls is one my priorities during this term of office. These legislative changes are vital to compliance with obligations under a Council of Europe convention (known as the Istanbul Convention) on combating violence against women and domestic violence. It is also central to the Council of Ministers’ long term plans for Jersey that Islanders feel safe in their homes and in our community.

“Seeking to achieve compliance with the Istanbul Convention is a positive move for Jersey. It is the first binding international convention focussed on preventing gender-based violence, domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting accused offenders.  Once the necessary law amendments have been made, we hope that Jersey will be able to sign up to the convention and demonstrate our compliance with this important international standard.”

Other work to further the strategy in Jersey included a workshop held in early December to discuss gender-based violence and domestic violence in Jersey. The workshop brought together public and voluntary agencies, including the member agencies of the Safeguarding Partnership Boards and, to share information, assess current evidence about this type of abuse in Jersey and the current prevention and response available.

The Chair of the Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy Group, Senator Paul Routier, MBE, said “Preventing violence is something that concerns us all, and violence based upon a person’s gender is particularly unacceptable. Working together to pool our understanding of these issues can only help those who are sadly on the receiving end of such violence.”

Presentations at the workshop focused on issues including a national perspective on how the Istanbul Convention has helped to shape the response to gender-based violence in the UK and a local insight into the progress of sexual offences legislation and domestic violence legislation.

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