Monday, 25 January 2010 4:59 AM
New Crime Decree in Fiji to Assist Fight against Sexual Abuse
Fiji's new Crime Decree of 2009 will assist in the fight against sexual abuse such as rape with new detail definition of rape and a no-drop policy for property owners on whose premises such acts take place with their knowledge.
According to reports by Fiji Times Online, the Crimes Decree of 2009, which becomes effective from February 1, gives a more detailed definition of what rape is.
According to the report, the repealed Fiji Penal Code Cap 17 rape was defined as the forced penile penetration of the female organ.
In the report, under the new decree, according to Manager Community Policing Assistant Superintendent Simione Bale, the "new law defines any object which ranges from an external one to a body part".
"That means that some cases that were currently treated as indecent assault would be now covered under rape.
"Additionally a man forcing his organ into any one else's mouth can also be charged with rape."
This also means that women can also be charged for rape under the new decree 'as the offence covers the non-consensual penetration of the vagina, vulva or anus with any object'.
According to Superintendent Bale, "Sexual offences are our biggest challenge and changes need to be communicated".
The maximum sentence for rape in the country is life imprisonment.
In addition, according to Fiji Times Online, under the new decree, sections 219 and 220 of the Crimes Decree of 2009, which come into effect on February 1, provide for charges to be laid against property owners or those that manage the property if a child (person below 13 years) or a girl below 16 years was defiled there.
This means that any 'home or property owner who fails to act on suspicions that a child is being defiled on their premises will be charged'.
The charge will also apply if a homeowner is aware that an underage person may have had consensual sex on their premises.
Police manager community policing Assistant Superintendent Simione Bale said property owners were a major contributing factor to such crimes, as 99 per cent of defilement cases happened within a home.
"This is one aspect that we are trying to control because the high number of cases is no longer a matter for complacency," ASP Bale said.
According to the report, the law had been provided for in the repealed Fiji Penal Code Cap 17 but was hardly enforced.
"We will charge them now, not just the man or boy because in the past there were cases of defilement like elopement in which the homeowner was aware that the girl was below the legal age," she said.
"They must be proactive and if they are suspicious of the intents of the boy or girl they must report to the girl's parents or even the police.
"They must be more responsible for the types of activities that happen on their properties and for cases of teenage parties that more vigilance is practised."