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Gov’t, Opposition back legislation for sex offenders’ registry

Saturday, October 13, 2012    

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THE Senate approved both the National Parenting Support Commission Act and the Sexual Offences (Registration of Sex Offenders) Regulations 2012 at its sitting yesterday.

The Act will enable the establishment of the National Parenting Support Commission, which will have responsibility, among other things, for overseeing the implementation and operation of the National Parenting Support Policy.

The passage of Sexual Offences Regulations, meanwhile, will now allow the creation of a Sex Offenders' Registry by the Correctional Services, which will maintain a register at the office of the registrar from which the affairs of sex offenders' registration centres are administered and directed.

The regulations noted that all information in the registry and the register shall be secret and confidential, and that the registrar shall only allow access to both in accordance with the provisions of the regulations. The regulations related to the Sex Offenders Act which was passed by Parliament in 2009 and became effective in 2011.

The Bill, which originated in the House of Representatives where it was approved, will now be sent back to the House to be signed off on, while the regulations will also go to the House to be debated and sent back to the Senate.

Minister of Justice Mark Golding, piloted the Sexual Offenders Act regulations, while minister with responsibility for Information, Sandrea Falconer, piloted the National Parenting Support Commission Bill.

There were no amendments to either document as Opposition senators supported the sentiments of both pieces of legislation.

The passage of the Sexual Offences Regulations should come as good news to a number of organisations and individuals who have over the past weeks expressed outrage at a number of carnal abuse and rape cases, including the sexual assault of three girls and two women in Irwin Point, St James. The girls included an eight-year-old who had to undergo emergency surgery. Two brothers have since been arrested and charged in connection with that incident.

And just yesterday detectives from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) arrested a St Andrew man who allegedly molested his nine-year-old niece. Police reported that the man was held after relatives of the child made a report to the police.

"The matter was reported to the police and a search was launched for the accused and he was held today," a detective from the Papine Police Station told the Jamaica Observer last night.

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