06 February 2018
Jersey’s Home Affairs Minister is urging survivors of sexual abuse and sexual violence to speak out and report it as part of a national awareness campaign launched this week.
On Monday, the States of Jersey Police announced that they had joined a national awareness campaign and will this week use social media as a way of highlighting sexual abuse and sexual violence using the hashtag #itsnotok.
Deputy Kristina Moore has lodged a new Sexual Offences (Jersey) law, which will be debated in the States next month.
Deputy Moore, who is backing this national campaign and encouraging Islanders to speak out and report this crime, said: “It is of great concern, and #itsnotok, that 186 sexual offences were reported in Jersey last year and that the States of Jersey police are certain that this type of crime is still under-reported.
“However, it is encouraging that confidence in reporting these crimes is increasing. I fully support this awareness campaign,’ Deputy Moore added.
“It is crucially important that victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence know that there is always someone there to help and support is available so that victims feel confident to speak out.
“And I am determined that we do all we can to improve this situation which is why introducing a new Sexual Offences law in Jersey has been one of my priorities in my term of office to ensure that we protect our community from sexual violence and sexual abuse. I would encourage Islanders to get behind this campaign this week and raise awareness and say #itsnotok.”
There are a number of agencies who are working together with the States of Jersey police to deal with sexual offending including Jersey Action Against Rape, Jersey Domestic Abuse Support, Brooke, Jersey Women’s Refuge, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre and Prison Me No Way who offer education packages to schools on this subject matter.
The new sexual offences law sets out to provide protection to individuals of all genders, and, most particularly, aims to protect children and vulnerable adults in Jersey from abuse and exploitation and ensures that abusers can be appropriately punished.
The purpose of the Sexual Offences draft law is to strengthen legal protections and to combine most of the sexual offences in Jersey’s legislation into one single area.
Significant consideration has been given to the definitions and importance of “consent” and “reasonable belief”, offences against children, prostitution (replacing some old legislation and adding new provisions) and creating new offences around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Although there have been piecemeal changes made to Jersey’s sexual offences law over time, it has not been the subject of an overarching review to ensure that, as a whole, it meets the needs of victims of crime and provides the police and prosecutors with the legislation they need to fulfil the expectations of modern Jersey society.
Extensive consultation has taken place with the States of Jersey Police, the Judiciary, the Attorney General and Law Officers Department during the drafting of the new Law.
The Sexual Offences (Jersey) draft law is due to be debated on 20 March 2018 in the States.