Confirmation from the Office of the Attorney General that perpetrators of sexual crimes will face the full brunt of novel laws aimed at deterring, punishing and shaming rapists, paedophiles and those others with a propensity to commit sexual crimes.
According to an official statement issued today, the tougher sex crimes laws came into effect on Friday 31st January 2020.
The release notes that sexual crimes are the second highest, after murder, which go before the High Courts of T&T, according to statistics. It observes that the country has seen the rampant commission of sex crimes, including the most savage and brutal attacks against women, children and even the elderly.
The AG’s Office says the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019, will ensure that information on sexual offenders can be shown on an online website for the public to access their names, addresses, photographs and offences committed. The Commissioner of Police can also publicise this information for the public to be aware and better protect themselves.
According to the release issued by the AG’s Office, for the first time in T&T, law enforcement will now be empowered to better monitor and track offenders who must frequently report to the police station and provide every essential detail about themselves, including their fingerprints and DNA.
In addition, victims of sexual crimes can seek compensation from the offender if they contract a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The law also emphasises the protection of children by widening the category of persons who must mandatorily report cases of sexual abuse, failing which, an offence is committed.
The AG’s office notes that prior to the change, the laws that stood regarding the registration of sex offenders were inadequate, inconsistent and underutilised. It points out that from 2000–2019, there were a total of 1, 693 persons convicted of sexual offences in T&T, yet zero/none of those persons were registered in a Sexual Offenders Registry. The new law addresses this gap, with regard to the sentencing, registering and monitoring of sex offenders and also provide a critical tool to law enforcement investigations.
The AG’s Office says the new, tougher law will send a strong warning to sexual predators that the Courts, Law Enforcement and the society are now empowered to treat with them, as justice for their vile and abhorrent crimes demand.