The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) will be consulting members of the public on the Child Justice Bill, and has organised a series of town hall meetings to begin on Monday December 6, 2021. You will also be able to read the documents and share your feedback with the ministry via the links at the end of this article.
A press statement from GIU, said the ministry recognises the importance of public consultation and is taking the opportunity to gather views, evidence and data from people, businesses, online platforms, academics, civil society and all interested parties, prior to the finalisation of the new legislation. Interested parties are therefore invited to submit their views on the latest draft of the Legislation during the period December 6 to December 9, 2021.
Deputy Director of the Social Services Department, Ms. Phyllis Dyer, said: “Keeping children out of conflict with the law is a collaborative endeavor that includes children, parents and the community working together. The Child Justice Bill establishes a consistent framework for
responding to children who are in conflict with the law whilst maintaining their rights. One key aim is to divert children away from formal court procedures. Previous stakeholder consultations and the current series of public consultations will provide an opportunity for enhancing awareness of the Bill and its legal provisions.”
The Child Justice Bill establishes a judicial process for children who come into conflict with the law.
It aims at protecting the rights of children. The Bill is set out in accordance with principles underpinning international conventions. The Bill seeks to entrench principles of rehabilitation and restorative justice as an integral part of the child justice system. In which the idea is young persons can take responsibility and make amends for the wrongs that they might have done. It also establishes procedures for the assessment of children; an initial inquiry and opportunities for diversion away from formal court procedures. There is an emphasis on inclusion of the family in decisions affecting children, the need for dealing with children in a manner appropriate to their age and development and those without families should have equal access to services. The Bill outlines the age of criminal responsibility and ensures that prison as a sentence is a last resort.
The Town Hall sessions will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to meet face to face to review and discuss the Legislation. The Town Halls will take place at the following locations during the consultation period (6 December to 9 December 2021):
COMMUNITY LOCATION DATE TIME
SALEM – Salem Methodist Hall – Monday, 6th December 2021 – 4:30pm -6:30pm
BRADES Brades Arts & Education Centre – Tuesday, 7th December 2021 – 4:30pm -6:30pm
DAVY HILL – Davy Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church – Wednesday, 8th December 2021 – 4:30pm -6:30pm
LOOKOUT – Look Out Community Centre – Thursday, 9th December, 2021 – 4:30pm -6:30pm
The Ministry is encouraging members of the public and key stakeholders to review the latest draft of the Child Justice Bill, which is available on the Social Services page on the Government website. Alternatively, the relevant documents can be accessed via the following links:
● Download the draft Legislation here: https://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Child-Justice-Bill-2021-Public-Consultation-002.doc
● Download the supporting presentation about the Legislation here: https://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CJBill-Presentation-2021-003.pptx
● Visit the consultation portal here: https://forms.gle/KqChLKbHcdEbroQD6
Submissions may be made in the following ways:
1. Visit the online consultation portal HERE and submit your feedback;
2. Email your submission as an attachment (PDF or Word doc) to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Child Justice Bill Consultation Submission’ in the title; or
3. Post (Submit hardcopy) your submission to ‘Child Justice Bill Consultation Submission’, Department of Social Work, E. Karney Osborne Building, Little Bay, Montserrat.
Following the public consultation, the Ministry will carefully review all input and publish the stakeholders’ submissions and a summary of the main findings on the Government of Montserrat’s (www.gov.ms) website.
To learn more about the public consultation and how to become involved, contact the Ministry of Health & Social Services at (664) 491-3895 / 495-3895 / 495-7491 or by email at email@example.com.