1. While FWCC welcomes the introduction of the Registration of Sex
Offenders Bill 2018, there are certain provisions within the Bill that
need to be improved to ensure that the human rights interests of
everyone involved is taken into account, including sex offenders.
2. The submission discusses the impact of the Bill on the communities
and the Sex Offenders rights. It also discusses the improvements that
should be made to the Bill that protect the rights of both, the
community and the Sex Offenders.
3. The submission was very detailed, but, for your understanding the
highlighted key points are as follows;
3.1 EXPAND DEFINITION OF SEXUAL OFFENCES- submitted that the Bill needs
to expand the current definition of “sexual offences” to include
sections 225, 226, 227 and 233 of the Crimes Act 2009.
3.2 CATEGORISE THE VARIOUS SEXUAL OFFENCES INTO DIFFERENT CLASSES OR
TIERS- Most of the other jurisdictions have taken an approach where
their sexual offences are classed into various categories in order to
determine the reporting or registration period. We recommended that Fiji
take the approach of Guam in terms of categorization. The Guam approach
gives lifetime registration obligations to those convicted of Sexual
Offences in which penetration has taken place and 15 years where
penetration has not occurred. In addition to the Guam approach we
recommend that any sexual offence against a Child regardless of
penetration should be given a lifetime reporting obligation, subject to
the decision of the court.
3.3 REGISTRATION OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS TO BE PROHIBITED UNLESS COURT
DEEMS OTHERWISE- We submit that including a child who was found guilty
of a sexual offence should not be automatic. It should be left to the
court to decide whether the juveniles should be registered.
3.4 CONTRAVENES THE JUVENILE ACT- Sections 22 and 23 of the Bill
directly contradict section 25 of the Juveniles Act in which the
police are prohibited from taking the fingerprints and photographs of
any juvenile while in their lawful custody unless an order to do so is
obtained from a Magistrate. We recommend that these two provisions be
amended to be in line with the Juveniles Act.
3.5 MODE OF NOTICES- These three sections (Section 8, 9 and 10) are
silent as to whether the written notice will be in a language that the
sex offender understands. Therefore, it is imperative that along with a
written notice, a verbal explanation in the language the sex offender
understands should be given as well by the Court, Commissioner of
Correction and Police. We also recommend that the sex offenders undergo
“re-education of their minds” whilst they are in prison and also
after their release. This means that they go through mandatory gender
sensitized training at least once a year.
3.6 STRICT OBLIGATION ON FOREIGN SEX OFFENDERS – We recommend that:
1. Mandatory reporting be done for corresponding sex offenders,
regardless of their purpose of entering Fiji.
2. Fiji Revenue and Custom Service should liaise with their counterparts
around the world to obtain their lists of sex offenders. These lists are
to be checked against the incoming person(s) to the country at the point
3.7 AMENDING OFFENDERS INFORMATION ON THE REGISTER- We recommend that
the when a request for an amendment of information is received by the
Commissioner, the Commissioner should be obliged to give a written
notification to the sex offender as to whether the Commissioner will
comply with the request or not. We further recommend that in the event
that the Commissioner denies a request for an amendment of information,
an appeal avenue should be made available to the sex offenders.
3.8 UPHOLDING CONFIDENTIALLY – We suggest that the limitations of
maintaining confidentiality be clearly outlined in the Bill. This can be
achieved by setting criteria or relevant factors that the Commissioner
has to follow and/or consider before disclosing or authorizing
disclosure of the information. This would ensure transparency.
3.9 SPECIFIC PUBLISHING PROHIBITION- We recommend that provisions be
inserted into the Bill that prohibits publishing of offenders details
but also have set criteria’s that determine when the information can
be published. We suggest looking at Victoria’s SEX OFFENDERS
REGISTRATION ACT 2004.
3.10 EXCLUSION FROM CHILD-RELATED EMPLOYMENT TO DEPEND ON THREAT- Sex
offenders who have never offended against a child or pose no risk should
not have his or her employment opportunities be restricted to exclude
any child related employment unless the court deems otherwise. We
suggest that the court determine “risk” by looking at the evidence
that was submitted in court for the offence as well as the previous
convictions of the Offender.
3.11 AMENDMENT OF SECTION 34- In order to ensure that that the
limitations placed on the human rights of the sex offender is human and
not abusive, it must be made clear in the Bill that the Constitution
shall override any part of the Bill that is not consistent with the
Constitution. We recommend that:
a) Our recommendation as per paragraph 3.3 be considered to ensure that
a Juvenile’s interest is taken into account; and
b) This section be amended to specifically state that “if any section
in the Bill is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights stated in the
constitution then the Constitution should prevail.”