Lee: It’s time to report and study crimes regionally

Posted on Dec 06 2019


Sen. Régine Biscoe Lee has secured a regional commitment to report and share data about crimes committed against children, women, and the elderly across the Pacific.

The Democrat lawmaker is on Saipan this week as part of Guam’s delegation to the 60th general membership meeting of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures. Lee serves as a member of the regional organization’s board of directors for the 2018-2019 term.

As part of this year’s proceedings, Lee introduced a resolution that commits APIL members to “unifying efforts to curb the victimization of vulnerable populations, by establishing and committing to regional reporting of crimes committed against children, women, and the elderly.” The measure is co-sponsored by the delegations from Chuuk, the CNMI, Kiribati, and Hawaii. It was unanimously adopted by the APIL yesterday.

“Across the Pacific, cultures share values that revere the elderly, honor women, and protect children. Unfortunately, throughout our region too many nations and territories see violence and exploitation perpetrated against these important members of our island families,” the resolution reads, in part. “Efforts to understand, prevent, and punish these crimes can be made more effective if communities tied by common cultural threads collect and share comparable data.”

Regional stakeholders have noted gaps in reporting gender-based and other biased crimes as recently as this year’s United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Women Leadership Summit, which Lee attended.

“These despicable crimes steal the innocence of our youth, instill fear in our mothers, and violate the trust of our wisest familial leaders. I’m thankful that the members of APIL agree that by coming together, we can make a difference,”  Lee said. “These opportunities to learn from one another, and commit to solving problems across the Pacific with solutions from within our region, is the best way forward. This is the first step to better researching and curbing these violent acts.”

• The resolution provides that APIL members will establish, by local statute or otherwise, at least an annual report of crimes perpetrated against children, women, and the elderly. These reports will include important information like:
• The total number and demographic information of victims (including age, gender, ethnicity, etc.);
• The total number and demographic information of convicted abusers (including age, gender, relationship to victim, number of convictions, etc.);
• Information about crime perpetrated (clarifying violence, criminal sexual conduct, financial exploitation, etc.);
• Information regarding the resolution of criminal cases (verdict reached, plea deal negotiated, dismissal of case, etc.);
• Current penalties for crimes committed against children, women, and the elderly; and
• Any newly adopted or enacted rules, regulations, or statutes addressing crimes committed against children, women, and the elderly.

Once compiled and published, APIL member jurisdictions will transmit their reports to the association’s secretariat, who will then post all data to the APIL website for the free use of regional researchers and legislators.
Lee also authored a resolution that continues the Micronesia Challenge, a successful regional cleanup program. This measure also was adopted unanimously. (PR)

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