Statistics from the Department of Correctional Services (DoCS) spanning from 2012 to 2022 has revealed the number of sexual offences higher compare to other reported crimes.

Following closely are offences against persons, including violence and domestic violence, with property crimes such as theft ranking third.

Port Vila and Santo have consistently reported higher community-based sentence numbers since 2006, leading to increased re-offending based on prevailing social issues, according to the DoCS census surveys.

The 2022 report identifies alcohol and drug use, peer pressure, entitlement, and other factors as the main contributors to the concerning trends. Despite these challenges, the recent report highlights a low re-offending rate, signifying positive progress in ongoing efforts to maintain a safer community.

The DoCS emphasized the crucial need for urgent action to address sexual offences, domestic violence, and other crimes collectively, underlining a shared responsibility for societal improvement.

“In particular, the 2022 detainee census indicates a low re-offending rate of 1% for community-based sentences and 8% for detainees. Vanuatu has maintained a comparatively lower re-offending rate since 2006 compared to other countries worldwide.

“Throughout the Census surveys from 2012 to 2022, the DoCS has played a crucial role in reducing re-offending, with significant contributions from community support, probation officers, custodial officers, probation community justice supervisors, chiefs, churches, and key stakeholders such as World Vision, ADRA, Wan Smol Bag, the Police, and others,” stated the department.

Meanwhile, the Probation Management and Corrections Department urges continued collaboration to sustain and enhance the robust community justice system.

The Parole Toksave Awareness initiative for 2023 has achieved a milestone by bringing together community-based offenders in Luganville and Port Vila.

Despite a disruption in 2022 due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DoCS said that this initiative seeks to refresh and remind clients of the standard and special conditions of their community-based sentences, particularly during the festive period.

Held annually, the awareness aims to prompt reflection on these conditions, discouraging activities that might lead to re-offending or involvement in criminal acts.

In response, participants expressed gratitude for the valuable insights and guidance provided during the session, emphasizing its positive impact not only during the festive season but also in the long run.

However, with the 2023 census currently underway, the nation eagerly anticipates the release of results next week.