Harsher penalties for sexual offences in Solomon Islands

6:41 pm on 9 May 2016

A new law in Solomon Islands will introduce harsher penalties for sexual offences, particularly those committed against children.

The amendment to the penal code updates penalties and the definitions of a range of serious offences.

The policy coordinator for the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs, Vaila Ngai, said the law complements the Family Protection Act, which made domestic violence a criminal offence when it was brought in last month.

Ms Ngai said the ministry's focus will now turn to ensuring the laws are properly implemented and enforced.

"It also strengthens the other legislations especially the Family Protection Act and it comes down to government's commitment to addressing this issue of violence against women," said Ms Ngai.

"You know, looking at it as a national issue no longer a private matter as previously thought."

She said training and awareness workshops were being conducted with police, members of the judiciary, frontline care providers and communities around the country.

The new laws also introduces a range of new sexual offences, including sexual intercourse with a person with a disability, sexual intercouse by a person in a position of trust, commercial child sexual exploitation, child exploitation material and internal people trafficking.