• Francis Obonyo
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Understanding the Sexual Offences Bill, 2018

Introduction
The Sexual Offences Bill was first tabled in the 9th Parliament in 2015 and was re-tabled last year. The object of the Bill is to enact a specific law on sexual offenses for the effective prevention of sexual violence; to enhance punishment of sexual offenses; to provide for the protection of victim during sexual offenses trails; to provide for extraterritorial application of the law; to repeal some provisions of the Penal Code Act, Cap 120 and for other related matter.

Highlights of the Bill
• The Bill proposes that a person who is incapable of consenting to a sexual act if at the time of the performance of the sexual act he or she was; asleep, unconscious, or mentally impaired.
• Provides for a person who administers or causes to be administered a substance to another person, to induce, stupefying or overpowering that other person to perform a sexual act with that person commits an offense.
• The Bill proposes a person who, by whatever means transmits, transfers, sends, forwards, direct material of a sexual nature to another person without the consent of that other person commits an offense.
• The Bill will establish a sex offenders’ register which shall be managed and maintained in electronic or other forms by the Authority responsible for National Identification and Registration
• The Bill provides that where a person has consented to perform a sexual act with another, he or she may withdraw such consent at any time before or during the performance of the sexual act
• The Bill also provides that where a person supplies sexual content and material to a child commits an offense; and,
• The Bill provides that a person who intentionally performs a sexual act or causes another to engage in a sexual act in the presence of a child or a place from where a child can observe him or her commits an offense.

Key Issues and analysis
Whereas the Penal Code Act, Cap 120 provides for several sexual offenses, the provisions are outdated, and the ingredients constituting the offenses are narrow given the fact that they do not reflect the evolving trends in social attitudes, value, and sexual practices. New forms of sexual violence and exploitation have emerged and are currently not provided for posing a challenge while dealing with them. The application of the Penal Code Act, Cap 120, is also limited in as far as combating sexual violence on Ugandan citizens by Uganda citizens and residents while outside the country is concerned. There is a need to provide for extraterritorial application of the law in order to combat sexual violence on Ugandan citizens by Ugandan citizens and residents while outside the country. It is, therefore, necessary that a specific law on sexual offenses be enacted to provide for the effectual; prevention of sexual violence

Conclusion
The Sexual Offences Bill, 2019, is one of the pending gender-related laws under consideration by Parliament. This Bill reiterates the existing laws on sexual offenses, thus presenting a new era of sexual crime in Uganda. The Bill faces much resistance because of its provisions on sex and, consent to sexual activity as it attempts to regulate sex