A workshop looking at law reform to addressing violence against women has highlighted various problems in sexual assault laws that calls for further development and strengthening.

In a presentation on sexual assault laws, Kathleen Kohata of the Law Reform Commission highlighted significant problems in rape, attempted rape, incest, defilement, indecent assault, buggery, child prostitution and sexual servitude of adults.

Miss Kohata says the main problem of sexual assault laws in Solomon Islands is that it was written in 1963 and has not been updated either in terms of definition or sentencing.

She says in terms of rape - although it carries a maximum of life imprisonment - unlawful sexual intercourse is limited only to penile penetration, but there are instances when other objects have been used to violate a woman's body.

Miss Kohata says another problem in rape cases is the definition of consent is unclear.

She says the current law only recognises that consent cannot be gained by threat or intimidation but the law also does not say if a person cannot get consent when a female is induced by alcohol or drugs or by a third party.

The Law Reform Workshop to addressing Violence Against Women ends tomorrow.

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