Trinidad: Check Offenders Online, Sexual Registry Now In Effect From Jan­u­ary 31, this year, 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.

The new law al­so al­lows vic­tims of sex­u­al crimes to seek com­pen­sa­tion from their at­tack­ers.

The Min­istry of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and Le­gal Af­fairs in a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day said the much-de­bat­ed law took ef­fect at the end of last month and marks the first time in his­to­ry such an ap­proach to deal­ing with sex­u­al of­fences has been used in fight­ing the crime.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, “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.”

It added, “For too long the so­ci­ety has seen the ram­pant com­mis­sion of sex crimes, in­clud­ing the most sav­age and bru­tal at­tacks against women, chil­dren and even the el­der­ly. Sta­tis­tics demon­strate that sex­u­al crimes are the sec­ond-high­est, af­ter mur­der, be­fore the High Courts of T&T.”

On­ly last month the po­lice ser­vice held 29 per­sons for sex­u­al­ly re­lat­ed crimes main­ly against chil­dren, which led to a to­tal of 44 charges.

The po­lice ser­vice said there has been a sharp in­crease in crimes against chil­dren.

In its state­ment, the min­istry said the Gov­ern­ment stands com­mit­ted to strik­ing against all forms of crim­i­nal­i­ty and the Sex­u­al Of­fences (Amend­ment) Act, 2019 is yet an­oth­er demon­stra­tion by this Gov­ern­ment of its com­mit­ment to tack­le hard crime through ground­break­ing leg­is­la­tion.

It said through the act 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.

And most strik­ing­ly 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 min­istry added be­fore the laws that stood re­gard­ing the reg­is­tra­tion of sex of­fend­ers were in­ad­e­quate, in­con­sis­tent and un­der­utilised.

It said, “be­tween the years 2000–2019, there were a to­tal of 1, 693 per­sons con­vict­ed of sex­u­al of­fences in T&T, yet ze­ro of those per­sons were reg­is­tered in a sex­u­al of­fend­ers reg­istry.”

The min­istry said the new law sig­nals a pel­lu­cid and 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.”