The Sex Offenders Registry implies that children who sexually offend will grow into being reputable sex offenders which undermines the need for comprehensive early treatment.
This has been highlighted by the Executive Director of Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Nalini Singh during their standing committee submission on the Registration of Sex Offenders Bill.
Singh raised concerns regarding Section 5 (2) of the Bill which states that a sex offender refers to any person above the age of 12 years and if convicted of a sexual offence would be entered in the register.
She further stated that according to the Fiji Police Force Crimes Statistics 2016 Annual Report, 20 juveniles were found guilty by the court for the offence of defilement of young persons between the age of 13 to 16 years.
Singh says the practice of the courts is to consider whether such incidents occurred out of the virtuous relationships between the parties.
She adds that if the Bill is adopted as it is currently drafted, these juveniles would be branded as sex offenders for life and this would lead to difficultly in terms of leading a normal life and future prospects.
Singh also raised concerns regarding Section 5 (3) which states that the Bill provides that a person only ceases to be a sex offender in the instance whereby the conviction is quashed or set aside by the court.
The Executive Director says the current practice in accordance with the Act within the courts is to disregard previous convictions that are 10 years or over as the person is considered to have been rehabilitated.
Singh states that the Bill would deem the persons as sex offenders for life and not consider their rehabilitation.
She also raised concerns regarding Section 7 (3) which states that authorized persons from the Fiji Police Force and Fiji Corrections Services would be responsible for the administration of the Register of Sex Offenders.
Singh highlighted that the Fiji Police Force and relevant authorities have not declared statistics around repeat sex offenders.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.