Dealing with sex offenders

WE need effective management of sex offenders to ensure their release from prison does not have a negative impact on victims, says Fiji Police Force Deputy Commissioner Isikeli Ligairi.

Speaking at the 37th Asian Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators held in Nadi last week, he said there was a serious need to reduce recidivism of sex offenders.

“We will need a multi-dimensional approach to ensure that those released from incarceration do not further contribute to increasing the recidivism rate, but they are able to integrate back into the community, taking into consideration the impact their release will have, especially on the victim,” he said.

Mr Ligairi said there were serious issues that needed to be addressed when dealing with victims of sex crimes, especially when perpetrators were released from prison.

“Have we done enough as relevant stakeholders to prepare the victim for the return of the person that committed the crime back into their everyday life?

“If the offender is related to the victim, it’s easy to focus on the rehabilitation of the offender, but what about if the offender is not related to the victim?”

Mr Ligairi said information gleaned by Fiji Corrections Service psychologists from sex offenders during counselling sessions could be used to formulate strategies to help victims.

“Again, this is where we need to source the information that our administrators have gathered from the sex offender whilst under their care, so when we conduct our community training and awareness programs, we are also able to help the victims of sex crimes.

“I am sorry to state the only help police have for victims at this stage is the referrals for counselling to Medical Services Pacific — a local NGO that has extended its arm to assist victims.”

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