Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi did not mince words when he compared sex offenders to dogs and animals.
The description was made during the launch of a number of reports by the Samoa Law Reform Commission (S.R.L.C) yesterday. Among them was the Sex Offenders Registry Report.
The Prime Minister recalled when the suggestion was made for a Sex Offenders Registry by Justice Vui Clarence Nelson. After reading the recommendation, he immediately sent a note to the Attorney General.
“Submissions from these public consultations have assisted the Commission to develop recommendations in its final reports, which was approved by Cabinet and published in May 20, 2015,” he said.
The Commission also developed a Sex Offender “Registration Bill which reflected the recommendations made in the final report.
Although the Sex Offender’s registered final report was completed two years ago, its official launch yesterday was fitting given prevalence of sexual crimes in Samoa.
The Commission’s report highlights that between 2009 and 2013, there were 535 crimes of a sexual nature reported to the Police.
“The overall trend shows a 20per cent increase in reporting of sexual crimes from 2009 to 2013.
“The most common types of reports of sexual crimes include rape, indecent assault and attempted rape.
“The key aim of the Commission’s final report was to therefore consider how a sex offenders register could better protect victims of sexual crimes - including children - and reduce sexual crimes in Samoa.
“Overall the Samoa Law Reform Commission’s final report recommended the establishment of a Sex Offenders Register through legislation called the Offender Registration Act.”
The Sex Offender Register for Samoa plans to help law enforcement and crime prevention.
Supreme Court Justice Vui who has been vocal and a strong advocate for the Sex Offenders Registry said the launch of the final report is a step forward.
“I think this is a great step forward for the country,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a useful piece of legislation and it’s going to tackle the increase of sexual offending that is happening now.
“It’s not getting any smaller by the day, it’s increasing and we have to do something and this is the sort of constructive measure that the country can take to tackle offending like that,” Vui said.
Other reports launched yesterday included the:
- The Pule a le Matai Sa’o Final Report 2017;
- Alcohol Reform Final Report 2016;
- Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Final Report 2016;
- Supreme Court Rules 1980 and Magistrate Court Rules 1971 (Civil Procedure Rules) Final Report 2016
- Review of the Property Law Act 1952 Issues Paper 1 & 2
ABOUT THE SEX OFFENDERS REGISTER REPORT ACCORDING TO ACTING EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ULUPALE FUIMAONO
“As you are aware, the review of the Sex Offenders Register resulted from a call from Justice Nelson in 2013 to establish a sex offenders’ register when a sex offender was convicted again for the same type of sexual offending.
The Attorney General then referred this reference to the Commission to assess whether it is appropriate for Samoa to establish a sex offenders’ register and whether such a register would deter sexual re-offending.
A Discussion Paper by the Commission was approved by Cabinet and published in April 2013, which raised issues surrounding the establishment of a sex offenders’ register. Consequently, public consultations were held in October 2013 in both Upolu and Savaii on the Discussion Paper.
Submissions from these public consultations have assisted the Commission to develop its Final Report, which was approved by Cabinet and published in May 2015, containing recommendations for reforms.
The Sex Offenders’ Register Final Report resulted in the Sex Offenders Registration Bill 2017 which is now with the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly for tabling before Parliament.
The Samoa Law Reform Commission was fortunate to receive funding from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for our Sex Offenders Register (SOR) Project.