INDEPENDENT Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye has called for protection orders to be extended to same-sex relationships.
She was contributing to debate on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2010 in the Senate on Monday.
Thompson-Ahye said one thing missing from the legislation was for an applicant for a protection order in a same-sex union. This, she said, was included in the jurisdictions of Ontario and Queensland.
“People in same-sex unions can be victims. Some are being killed. Lives may be saved if they had protection orders.”
She recalled that at an Independence Day celebration she attended, she saw a man being pelted with bottles and later learned that it was because of his sexual orientation.
“Protection should be for all.”
She said, over the years as an attorney she has dealt with dozens of domestic violence cases and she had one client who was murdered, one who had their skull fractured, another who spent a night hiding in a drain in La Horquetta and another who spent a night in a park in Auzonville, Tunapuna.
“The list is long.”
She said lives depended on the Parliament getting this legislation right and she praised the government’s efforts saying it was a “red-letter day.” She added that she was promised a rose garden and Government delivered to her some blossoms.
She said, for the first time there is mandatory reporting of domestic violence against children. She called for major cases of domestic violence to be left with the police and for the Children’s Authority to deal with minor ones.
Thompson-Ahye said, as a society we continued to “grapple to our bosom” corporal punishment.
“And we wonder why we are so violent.”
She said she has represented men who were the perpetrators of domestic violence and none of them reoffended. She recalled telling one man, “Stop stalking your wife” and he went on to have a healthy relationship with another woman.
Thompson-Ahye said she was glad the cap had been removed on the quantum for domestic violence compensation and also said there needed to be serious training for police officers after this bill came into force of law.
“A new dawn is here with the Domestic Violence Act.”
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