The government presented a draft bill on sexual abuse of women and children to Parliament for approval yesterday, making the bill's details fully public for the first time. Highlights of the new bill are chemical castration for sex offenders, life sentences for the sexual abuse of children and increased prison terms in general.
Amid public outcry over recent cases of sexual abuse targeting children, the government has pledged to step up measures to prevent further instances of these crimes. The government launched a joint committee of several ministries to come up with ways to fight the disturbing phenomenon and is also working on a new campaign to teach children about the privacy of body parts and physical boundaries.
According to the draft law, the upper limit of sentences in all sexual abuse crimes against children range from 20 years to 40 years. Moreover, punishments for sexual crimes will be increased from 30 years to 40 years if the child is under the age of 12. It proposed that the courts should give life sentences to those who sexually assault children under 12 through force or the use of weapons.
The draft law, which will be debated in Parliament's justice committee this week, would also enable courts to order the chemical castration of such convicts. Though it is not openly described as castration, the draft bill refers to the "repression of sexual desire" for convicts three months before their release. The process will take five years. Chemical castration is currently practiced in several countries in various forms, including seven states in the United States, Russia, South Korea, Poland and Indonesia.
Those who commit such crimes and are sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment would qualify for probation only after serving 50 years. Similarly, those who commit such crimes and get life imprisonment would be up for probation after 40. In both cases, the convicts would need to demonstrate good behavior during their time in prison. In any case, convicts would never be allowed to work near children.
The Ministry of Health will also establish special centers for the abused children, the draft law added.
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