Almost two years after the Guyana Government launched its first Sexual Offences Court, plans are currently being finalised for the second of its kind to be opened at Region Five (Mahaica Berbice) in April.
A Sexual Offences Court is different from other courtrooms as it includes features which will make victims more comfortable testifying against their attackers.
The Sexual Offences Court is equipped with audio-visual devices to aid the testimony of witnesses. There are two screens in the courtroom that provide the complainants with a more suitable setting to face their alleged perpetrators.
These features are aimed at increasing the number of prosecution of rape cases.
Back in November 2017 when the first Sexual Offenses Court opened, plans were announced to construct similar structures in Berbice and Essequibo.
The Sexual Offences Court was birthed out of the Sexual Offences Act 2010, which was spearheaded by former Human Services and Education Minister Priya Manickchand. The former Minister had led what was then called the ‘Stamp it Out’ Campaign in 2010 which saw widespread consultations around the country regarding sexual offences and other major human rights issues.
Since the opening of the Sexual Offences Court in Georgetown, there has been a notable increase in the number of convictions.
In fact, less than three months after it opened its doors for operation, the Sexual Offences Court said it recorded five convictions.