CARIBBEAN: Age of sexual consent raised to 18 in Trinidad and Tobago

By Trinidad Express

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TRINIDAD EXPRESS – As of May 18 this year, the age of consent for sexual intercourse in Trinidad and Tobago is now 18.

The Children’s Act of 2012 was proclaimed on May 18 and, in this legislation, the definition of “child” is now “a person under the age of 18 years”.

Prior to May 18, a child was defined as persons under the age of 16 years and the Sexual Offences Act listed various offences for engaging in activities with persons under 16.

However, with the passing of the new legislation, certain sections of the Sexual Offences Act have been repealed, broadening the parameters under which persons can be charged.

During a recent interview with the Express, Christal Chapman, one of the senior legal associates of the Children’s Authority (The Authority) explained the basic provisions of the new Act and how it affects citizens of this country.

“The Children’s Act of 2012 (the Act), came into force on May 18 and when it did, it repealed the previous Children’s Act, as well as certain sections in the Sexual Offences Act. Now what this Act does is it deals with child victims and child offenders and looks at treatment of children and the human rights benefits which should be accorded to them,” said Chapman.

“Now the Act also seeks to put into effect certain obligations which are listed into convention regarding the rights of the child. That convention would have established international standards for treatment of children and Trinidad and Tobago would have ratified to those standards in the early 90s. So in layman’s terms, the Act is putting into effect what we agreed to in this convention,” she explained.

Chapman noted that one of the key changes was increasing the age of the definition of a child because this would have been one of the international standards that this country agreed to.

“Now, prior to this Act, take for instance persons who would be engaging in sexual intercourse, there would have been an offence committed if these persons were under 16. The Sexual Offences Act would have gone on to further specify offences for sex with a female under 14 and then sex with a female who is 14 but not yet 16, and so forth.

“All of that is done away with as of May 18. With the Act, the implications are also not just for giving consent for sex and so forth, but even persons to be charged for offences, and even reporting on children. Let us take for instance something like, previously if you were to commit a sexual assault on someone who is 17 years of age, it would not be considered an offence against a child. With the new Act, you open up the pool of persons who are considered children, and when offences are committed against a child. You have opened up that catchment area,” said Chapman.

 

 

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4 comments

  1. These laws are ridiculous. Rather than instituting Draconian laws, emphasis should be placed on sex education. The international standard is 16 and even lower worldwide, this is just a fishing expedition.

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  2. The Caribbean Voice

    THE AGE OF CONSENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RAISED TO OVER 21 YRS.

    HELP US INCREASE THE AGE OF CONSENT TO STOP CRIME IN GUYANA!

    The age of sexual consent in Guyana should be raised to at least 21 to 26 prevent young women from harsh cruelty from child labor.

    I strongly believe that the legal age limit for sexual activities for girls should be increased from 16 to 18, preferably to 21 years, and that it should be strictly enforced on all Guyanese men who have a predatory fetish towards 18-21 year old women. The law should apply to Guyanese drug lords and organized cocaine barons who engage in such acts, and they should be forced on the Sex Offenders Registry because we as women do not tolerate men who prey on 18-21 year old women.

    Please sign our petition to President David Granger for him to raise the age of sexual consent for girls from 16 to 18. We aim to increase the age of consent to 24 and advocate for a drinking age of 21 in Guyana.

    We further aim to hold the drug lords in Guyana accountable by protesting on their front lawns and reporting them to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

    Help us support our cause to end teenage pregnancies and cocaine distribution in Guyana!

    -The Caribbean Voice, USA
    http://www.caribvoice.org/

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  3. grow up St. Lucia..

    Everything is put to paper, seldom is it put to action...... its good that they are trying to improve the laws of the land but for those offenders who are terrorizing and threatening victims, why is there no act in the Caribbean (if there are in other countries pardon my ignorance) or for goodness sake st.lucia, to register these persons as sexual offenders and monitor their movements (change of residence, regular check ins etc) so that if they are not put in jail, or are able to make bail, that at least they are known to law enforcement and actual attention can be payed to such cases... because the way they handle these things currently, its like a catch and release system-catching a fish and dropping it back in the ocean..... and once they're released.. how long will it take to find it once more?

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  4. I hope st. Lucia follows this example. Some of the young girls are too fast. Sex will not finish, focus on developing yourselves. And to the older men stop depriving the people children of their childhood.

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