Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation

SEXUAL OFFENCES BILL 2013 | Needed Amendments

The five-year minimum jail sentence for Section 5 which addresses coercion to engage in indecent act is too meagre.

Section 6 A person who intentionally commits rape or an indecent act with another within the view of a family member, a child or a person with mental disabilities is guilty of an offence and is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years.

This is clearly a contradiction of Section 2 subsection 3 which stipulates life imprisonment for rape.

How then does subjecting a family member to witness the trauma be a lesser crime?

Section 7
(5) It is a defence to a charge under the section:

(a) It is proved that such child, deceived the accused person into believing that he or she was over the age of eighteen years at the time of the alleged commission of the offence; and

(b) the accused person reasonably believed that the child was over the age of eighteen years.

Subsection (a) blames the sexually abused minor for the crime.

Subsection (b) is vague. The perpetrator can easily allege that the abused child looked 18 years old or more.

That again places the focus on the recipient of crime and not on the culprit.

Section 10.
(5) Any person who commits and indecent act with an adult is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand naira or to both.

The 20,000 naira fine is a rude joke.

Sections 11, 12, 13, 14 dealing with child sexual exploitation and trafficking ought to have higher penalties.

A minimum sentence of six or ten years is insufficient.

An offence of child pornography is certainly grave and hence the five year minimum sentence is inadequate [Section 15, subsection 1].

Incest [Section 19, subsection 1] deserves worse punishment than the minimum 10 year jail sentence.

The subsection limits incest to sexual acts with under 18 year-olds.

Incest between adults need to be criminalised – coerced or consensual.

The best part of the entire document is:

Upon conviction in any court of any male person for an offence under this section, or of an attempt to commit such an offence, it shall be within the power of the court to issue an order removing or divesting the offender of all authority over such female, remove the offender from such guardianship and in such case appoint any person or persons to be the guardian or guardians of any such female during the period of her minority or less period. [Section 19, subsection 3]

Section 21 on incest by family members other than parents – siblings, uncles and aunts – the terminology is ambiguous and no penalty prescribed.

Section 23: Sexual harassment need not be persistent. Once is an offence.

The term “persistently” in subsection 1 encourages sexual harassment, provided the act does not occur more than once.

When one walks into an office, the service one requests is clearly not sexual unless the office runs a brothel on the side.

Introducing any personal attraction to the official discussion is sufficient sexual harassment.

Plus, sexual harassment is not limited to persons in authority; offenders may be colleagues, or juniors.

It is noteworthy that sexual harassment occurs more on the street than in an office.

Any unsolicited sexual advance ought to be termed sexual harassment.

Section 29, on sexual violation influenced by culture or religion, requires a stiff penalty.

Cultural or religious crimes are widespread.

A ten-year sentence for sexual torment in the name of culture or religion is certainly not a deterrent.

Section 30, on non-disclosure of conviction of sexual offences when applying to work in care of children and vulnerable persons, requires more than the 3-year minimum sentence.

Definitely, the 20,000 naira fine is an insult to children exposed to the sexual convict.

Section 44, on consent, might need to be expunged for leaving too many loopholes.

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This entry was posted on June 26, 2015 by in Health.

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