Tweet Father Branka JohnRoman Catholic Priest, Brancker John has called for a revision of laws pertaining to children and youth in Dominica, including the age of consent. Father John told Dominica Vibes on Monday 18 May 2015, that a revision of the age of consent from 16 also needs to be considered. His call comes amidst widespread debate among the population regarding the penalty for sexual abusers on the island. Father John, who is participated in a child abuse consultation for religious leaders at the Dominica Public Service Union building, said stiffer penalties should also be implemented to help combat child sexual abuse. “I would like to see the law reviewed especially as there is a lot of confusion with regards to the age of consent, consent to do what, consent to do what, what are we saying that the children can consent to,” Fr John said. He noted that according to the current law, a 16 year old is able consent to sexual activity but cannot obtain a driver’s license.“So really, there is a lot of confusion as to what sexuality is about and the role of sex in the community and what children are supposed to respond to,” Fr John. He said the Catholic Church has come under tremendous pressure in light of the rise in child sexual cases and this has prompted the Catholic Church, especially in the United States, to implement policies for the protection of children.“I went to a seminar in the United States as to how we should protect children and what we should do now verses what we did in the past”. For example, Fr John priests are being advised to ensure that whenever they meet a minor, whether for counseling, discussion or prayer, “that we do that in a place where an adult could have access to at any time”.“If the room has to be closed, it’s preferably done in a room where you could see through a glass door so that there is no time that a minster or a priest is alone with a child unsupervised,” he said. Fr John indicated that the abuse of children by religious leaders has forced the church to increase its awareness in protecting the island’s children. “We are now more careful with how we operate and how we function. Of course there is no perfect solution, there is no perfect system, of course there’s going to be flaws and there are going to be abusers across the board, not just in the Catholic Church, but across all congregations, all denominations”. Share Share LocalNews Priest urges revision of child abuse laws by: Dominica Vibes News – May 18, 2015 303 Views 2 comments Share Sharing is caring!