Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan

Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (PCTT), Reverend Joy Abdul-Mohan is lobbying for an amendment to the Domestic Violence Act that would deny bail to those who breach Protection Orders.

It comes as the country continues to record gruesome violent acts against women and children. There are already 22 domestic violence-related murders for 2020.

Abdul-Mohan said the Presbyterian Church, like the rest of the population, is appalled by the increase in violent crimes, especially those against the elderly, women and children.

“We need to support legislation that can curb and prevent murderous attacks against citizens. I suggest that the Domestic Violence Act be amended to deny bail to those who breach Protection Orders. I make this suggestion noting that several women were killed by persons who breached Protection Orders. Perhaps, such an amendment to the Domestic Violence Act could be a deterrent. I urge Cabinet to implement the measure now before it that makes it mandatory for persons subject to Protection Orders to be issued with electronic monitoring bracelets,” Abdul-Mohan said.

In April, Parliament amended the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) Act to allow the State to track the movements of criminal offenders using bracelets with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

Back in March, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the ankle monitors would assist the government in combating domestic violence, especially as it relates to offenders with protection orders against them. It allows the agency monitoring the offender to know if he or she is within a prohibited distance specified in a protection order. If the offender breaches the order, the monitor will notify the police.

In 2019, the Ministry of National Security awarded a $10.3 million contract to Amalgamated Security Services Limited, in partnership with Israel company Attenti Limited to supply a full turnkey electronic monitoring solution for the installation of software and hardware. It included the supply of 300 ankle monitors, staff training, commissioning and maintenance of the system for three years.

National Security Minister Stuart Young said the primary and back up sites were up in November 2019.

Abdul-Mohan said she is are aware that in countries where electronic bracelets are mandatory, there were decreases in violence and the murders of abused women.

But while the system is not yet in place, she wants the church to do more as, over the years, the home and society seem to be growing accustomed to violence against the vulnerable. She said governments over the years were unable to deal with assault against citizens adequately.

She wants everyone to guard against the tendency to assimilate violence that they do not become desensitised to the shock of grievous assaults.

“The church cannot embrace justice, peace and love if it fails to speak out, condemning violence as a sin. It is the opportune time for us in the PCTT to confess our complacency and demonstrate our commitment to end violence against humanity. Our interests and actions must not be seen merely as a project but as a mandate that permeates every sector of the church and society,”

“Our individual churches need to be educated and prepared for our crucial role in this battle. We must speak out against this violence from our pulpits, our schools, our bible study groups, through worship and music and work in partnership with other stakeholders.”