Fijian Government tables Registration of Sex Offenders Bill

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy outside parliament early this week. Picture: ATU RASEA

THERE is an urgent need for Fiji to address its growing rate of sexual offences, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this while tabling the Registration of Sex Offenders Bill in Parliament yesterday.

The Bill, if enacted, would monitor sex offenders in the country and reduce potential sexual offences.

“The Bill also requires sex offenders to report relevant personal information about themselves for inclusion in the register. These include the names, addresses, fingerprints, places of employment and physical descriptions and registration of number of vehicles of sex offenders,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said there had been an increase in the number of reports on sexual offences which required a law that would create the right environment to register sex offenders.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were 227 people charged with sexual offences as of December 31 last year, while 444 were separate counts of serious sexual offenses.

“The youngest victims of sexual offences were a one-year-old and 10-month-old, where the accused persons was the grandfather respectively.

“Unfortunately for many sex offences, it could be a stranger or a next door neighbour, or an uncle or whoever it is at a family function, exists supposedly in safe havens like homes, schools, workplaces and community centres. “It (Bill) will help monitor sex offenders in the community and reduce potential sex offences.

“The sex offenders are also required to make periodic reports to ensure their personal information in the registrar is current and up to date,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill reflected jurisdictions of countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

“For example, if someone applied to be a pre-school teacher or primary schoolteacher, does the Ministry of Education have access to that list,” he said.

The Bill would be tabled before the Standing Committee for Justice, Law and Human Rights for scrutiny before being brought back to Parliament for final reading.

The Bill will: Protect the public from sex offenders; Sex offenders have high risk of re-offending after being released from custody; Through registration and periodic reporting, reduces sex offenders from re-offending because they will be monitored; and Information about certain sexual offenders to the public will assist public safety.

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