20 March 2018
Laws covering sexual consent, rape, prostitution and female genital mutilation will be debated as part of the Sexual Offences (Jersey) Law 201 in the States this week.
The Minister for Home Affairs has lodged the draft Law which amends the law relating to certain sexual acts as well as amending the Sex Offenders (Jersey) Law 201.
Under the proposals there are plans to include rape trials by jurats, which the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel have recommended.
A public awareness campaign is being planned to educate the public and raise awareness of what sexual consent means as well as introducing new offences on Female Genital Mutilation for the first time.
The purpose of the draft Law is to consolidate most of the sexual offences in Jersey’s legislation into a single enactment and to strengthen the protections in the law.
Although piecemeal change has been 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 tools they need to fulfil the expectations of modern Jersey society in relation to such offences.
Considerable consultation has taken place with the States of Jersey Police, the Bailiff, the Attorney General and Law Officers Department and the magistrates during the drafting of the new Law.
Other interested parties, including charities and those working within the field of sexual health, where given the opportunity to comment on proposed changes and identify any particular concerns with the proposals.
A full public consultation was conducted between the 1 September 2017 and the 13 October 2017, and comments from this have also been taken into consideration. A full review by the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has also been completed.
Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Kristina Moore, said: “One of the priorities for my term in office has been to ensure that we protect our citizens from domestic and sexual violence and abuse. 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”.
Significant consideration has been given to the definitions and importance of “consent” and “reasonable belief”, offences against children (by adults and children), prostitution, replacing some old legislation and adding new provisions and creating new offences around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
“I am proud to be bringing this law to the States. It marks a big change in how we deal with sexual offences and has the potential to have a significant effect on the lives of people who are unfortunate enough to be at the receiving end of some of the most intimate of crimes against a person”, added Deputy Moore.