Press Release: The Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses Bill 2015

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

A Definition of Consent in the New Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) 2015 Bill would go a long way to strengthen the Laws on Sexual Offences

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop CEO of the DRCC said : “The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre broadly welcomes the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences)  Bill 2015. While we would prefer that counselling and psychotherapy notes are given a place of privilege in our laws, we welcome the provision in this Bill to extend separate legal representation to include the relevance of the disclosure of counselling and psychotherapy notes to the proceedings.

We welcome the strengthening of the laws on child protection and the retention of the age of consent at 17.  We are disappointed not to see a definition of consent in the new legislation and we are hoping to convince Minister Fitzgerald that to amend the Bill to include a definition of consent would go a long way to further strengthening the legislation on sexual offences.

We welcome  the increase in the penalties for incest by a female. We would like to see the preclusion of the cross examination of children up to the age of 18 by the accused, extended to all victims of sexual violence.

We welcome the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual activities and the decriminalisation of those working in prostitution.

This Bill is very ambitious and provides for a wide range of reforms in our legislation. We commend the Minister and her officials on the sterling work that has gone into this publication. We look forward to further consultation with the Minister and we will be  including in our responses to the Bill, a request for reasons as to why certain  provisions in relation to  sex offenders that appeared in the 2014 publication of the Heads of the Bill, are absent.”

ENDS

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