Samoa launches Sex Offenders Registry

Representatives of Ministries who are partners to the establishment and administration of the Sex Offenders Registry

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2018: Future sex offenders will find their names and personal details in the Sex Offenders Registry that was launched yesterday by Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil.

The Registry is supported by the Sex Offenders Act 2017 and the main purpose requires convicted sex offenders to keep the police informed of their movements, mandate them to provide their personal details, prevent sex offenders from working in child related areas and to facilitate the monitoring compliance with the Act.

The database was created by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and funded the refurbishment of the Criminal Investigating Division (CID) that houses the Registry and provided two vehicles for the project.

The Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil said the database has all necessary functions to capture all information of sex offenders in Samoa such as their contacts, nicknames, location, their affiliation, tattoos, fingerprints, body scars and any other information.

“The database is comprehensive and has enough personal details on each offender for monitoring purposes,” he said.

The Sex Offenders Registry Unit is manned by a team of 10 police officers under the leadership of Inspector Efo Peika Moalele.

The Registry Unit works with the Ministry of Justice that relays the names of convicted sex offenders to the Unit, who then collects more information on the person convicted.

“The Registry does not register the convicted person after a court sentence, but 7 days prior to being released from prison,” said Efo.

She said when a convicted sex offender has 7 more days left in prison, he will be served with a notice that informs notice of what to expect.

The same process applies to sex offenders who have served time in overseas prison. “They also have to register locally in the registry,” said Efo Moalele.

Inspector Efo Moalele who is in charge of the Unit explaining the process to the representative of the Ministry of Justice and the Commissioner of Prisons and Corrections Services

The Registry database is well secured and only Inspector Efo Moalele has access to detail information of people in the registry.

One of the pressing issues from the public during consultations was making the offenders names public.

Police Commissioner Fuiavailili said only the Court has authority to endorse that.

He said the same system is used worldwide and in America, anyone can access its Sex Offenders Registry details. But for Samoa, it’s at an infant stage, and the registry will register all sex offenders from the past to today.

He also confirmed that only the Court has authority to remove a name from the registry, and for sex offenders who wish to travel abroad, they have to inform the Registry Unit and provide details of where they would be staying at for monitoring purposes.

He encouraged the community leaders, church leaders and Government agencies to work together with the Police in implementing this new system, and he hopes this new system will help deter anyone from committing sex crimes in Samoa.

The legislation is not new as other countries have been using it and is widely supported by international and regional law enforcement partners of the Samoan police, and further advocated by the Samoa Law Reform Law and Justice Sector, Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Prisons and Corrections, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Women Community and Social Development.