The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) commends the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Government for the passage in Parliament of the Penal Code (Amendment) (Sexual Offences) Bill 2016 this week.
The Bill compliments the Family Protection Act 2014 which came into effect early last month. The new legislation deals with the serious aspects of sexual violence and builds upon the foundation set by the current Solomon Islands Penal Code by updating the offences of rape, indecent assault, defilement, incest and procuration.
“The clarification of the sexual offences under this new legislation, I believe, will offer dramatically more protection to the victims of gender-based violence. It is also a strong warning to those who unfortunately exist in our communities, prey on the vulnerabilities of our women and young girls, that society cannot tolerate such inhumane behaviour,” said Alex Cameron, Acting RAMSI Special Coordinator.
“The new legislation also allows survivors of gender based violence to more confidently come forward and report the offences to Police because they know the offender will have little chance of escaping conviction using mere legal loopholes that existed under past legislation. The efforts of the police in investigating the offences will also not be in vain,” said Mr Cameron.
Acting RAMSI Special Coordinator, Mr Cameron stated: “RAMSI will continue to assist the RSIPF in the training of its officers throughout the country to carry out their role in the implementation of the Family Protection Act 2014 and now this new piece of legislation to protect the vulnerable members of our communities.”
Studies reveal that approximately two in every three women and girls in Solomon Islands have suffered from domestic violence.