This was revealed in the Speech from the Throne delivered by Governor John J. Rankin, CMG on January 18, 2022, where he noted that the Bill will also provide adequate measures for minimising secondary traumatisation, and monitoring and tracking of sex offenders following their release into the community.
“It will address implementation, monitoring and evaluation arrangements, investigation and prosecution procedures, legal proceedings and evidence, and sentencing; and provide protection, support, and assistance to complainants and survivors.”
In the speech written by the Government of the Day, the Governor added that the bill will put the Virgin Islands in line with international best practices for sexual offence legislation by providing comprehensive definitions and prioritising the prevention of gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, he added that a separate ‘Children (Care and Adoption) Bill’ will be brought forward in the new Session of the House of Assembly to ensure that local legislation is in line with the ‘OECS Model Children (Care and Adoption) Bill,’ to modernise and strengthen the laws to aid in the proper care and management of children in the Virgin Islands.
“The Bill will provide a more comprehensive way to address child abuse, neglect, exploitation, and other forms of violence against children,” he said.
The Governor added that the express intent is to ensure the safety, welfare, and wellbeing of the child and that any decisions taken are made in the best interest of a child where the Bill will modernise the laws relating to foster care and adoption procedures and the overall welfare of the child.
Additionally, a ‘Correctional Facilities Act’ will be brought forward so that it is aligned with provisions with the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 while maintaining its original objectives to repeal and replace the Prison Ordinance (CAP. 166).
This he says will modernise the VI’s legal framework with respect to the management and security of prisons, and the safe custody and rehabilitation of inmates.