Fourteen cases of annoyance were recorded in the Northern Division from January to July this year.
Speaking to 24 youth leaders in the North at a workshop on ending violence among women and children, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Unit officer acting Corporal Vasemaca Ralaca said the customary behaviour of joking among cross cousins (tavale) in certain cultures must stop because it was one of the main contributors to the commission of the offence.
Cpl Ralaca said such jokes could put people in prison for the charge of annoying a person under the new Crimes Decree.
She said the decree stated that people could be taken to task if their jokes and gestures offended others.
"The boundaries and the applications of the new Crimes Decree are wider and broader now compared to the former Penal Code which recognised the annoyance of the female sex only.
"The new Crimes Decree now declares that the offence can be committed against any person.
"These forms of annoyance may include spoken language, guttural sounds or any other form of sounds including obscene gestures or actions."