Vicarious liability and sexual abuse: A comparative analysis of different jurisdictions
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This obligatory essay discusses how the concept of vicarious liability for sexual abuse has developed in the United States, Canada and England and whether the developments in these jurisdictions are of value to the Zambian legal system. A comparative analysis of different jurisdictions is presented to demonstrate how the Supreme Court of Canada and the House of Lords have approached the issue of vicarious liability for sexual abuse. Further, it discusses how the courts in Zambia have approached the issue of vicarious liability for sexual abuse. This essay, through research found that in jurisdictions abroad, employers have been held vicariously liable for the sexual misconduct of their employees if the sexual misconduct is sufficiently related to the conduct authorized by the employer. According to the findings, the Zambian courts have not made a positive contribution to the law of vicarious liability for sexual misconduct in Rosaria Mashita Katakwe v AG because the issue of course of employment which is a critical factor in finding no fault- liability, was not addressed. In general, this essay concludes that the principle of vicarious liability for sexual abuse is valuable to the Zambia legal system in that it may be an effective way of reducing sexual abuse and ensuring victims receive compensation. This essay proposes recommendations regarding what needs to be done in order that the alarming numbers of sexual abuse cases are reduced, compensation is given to victims and effective measures of deterrence are put in place. In particular, institutions should review their internal risk management mechanisms to address the possibility of abuses occurring in their organizations; employee screening is essential and should include criminal record checks; government needs to improve the Victim Support Unit to respond with the needs of society and public information campaigns on sexual violence against women will help enlighten the public.
- Law