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‘Lack of structures hinders implementation of laws’

Feb 13, 2020, 1:25 PM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

The president of The Gambia Female Lawyers Association (GFLA) has acknowledged that The Gambia has very good laws, but implementing these laws is usually a problem. She made reference to the sexual violence act, attributing that lack of structures is hindering the implementation of these laws.

Haddy Dandeh Jabbie was speaking at a recent consultation on the Draft Women Amendment Bill 2019 and Sexual Offences Amendment Bill 2019 before the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

She thus called for the need to put in place structures to tackle and put an end to this growing problem. 

“The Gambia has very good laws in Africa, but the implementation is the problem because we didn’t have the structures to implement those laws. Many Gambians know these laws but they are not implementing it, as there are many cases on sexual violence in this country, but the victims are not reporting these cases,” she added.

The committee then gave a one-week time frame to Madam Jabbie for her to prepare a recommendation report about the Draft Women Amendment Bill 2019 and Sexual Offences Amendment Bill 2019.

The bill seeks to amend the Sexual Offences Act by introducing the offence of indecent assault. Victims of sexual violence are sometimes subject to sexual attacks which do not meet the legal threshold of rape and there is no alternative lesser offence in the Act.

Therefore, the coming of this Bill would seek to introduce the offence of indecent assault and a range of other sexual offences, which were not covered in the current act in order to provide a better protection for victims of sexual violence.