AMENDED laws for sexual violence and crimes against women and children will see prison terms increasing from five to seven years and a maximum of life imprisonment, The National reports.
According to the Criminal Code Act (Amended) 2003, these penalties covered the crimes of sexual penetration, molesting and indecent acts against children under the age of 16 and women.
Speaking at the conclusion of a three-day regional workshop in Lae, Morobe, on Wednesday, deputy public prosecutor Nicholas Miviri said sexual penetration without consent was deemed as rape and the circumstances of aggravation raised the maximum penalty to life in prison.
Miviri explained that under the amendment, the penalties start from seven years to life imprisonment.
The government had, in 2001, amended the PNG sex offence laws after finding them to be “outdated”.
It consequently passed the Criminal Code (sexual violence and crimes against children) Amendment Act 2003 and the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2003.
Miviri, however, expressed concern that the new laws were not being used by the prosecutors, including the police and social welfare workers.
He said that on many occasions, the offenders got off the hook because they were charged under the wrong laws.
The Lae workshop was aimed at making police and social workers aware of the implications and ramifications of the new laws.
Miviri was optimistic that the awareness would help police use the proper laws to successfully prosecute offenders.