Tuesday 25 July 2017

Minister to outlaw sex with people who've fallen asleep drunk

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A definition of 'sexual consent' to be approved by Government today will explicitly outlaw engaging in a sexual act with someone who has passed out from intoxication.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will seek Cabinet backing today for the laws which seek to prevent people being "taken advantage of".

The legislation will also introduce extra protections for people with disabilities who may not be able to communicate their consent.

The Law Reform Commission was recommending that definition of consent be written into law as far back as the 1980s.

Sources told the Irish Independent that Mrs Fitzgerald's proposed definition will "make it clear that a person who is incapable of consenting to a sexual act due to, for instance, being asleep or unconscious, as a result of intoxication" cannot give consent.

Currently, Irish law states that rape occurs if a person has not consented to intercourse and/or if the perpetrator was reckless as to whether the victim did or did not consent.

However, the courts have had to create their own definitions of consent.

There will also be new and strengthened offences to tackle child pornography, along with new provisions to be introduced regarding evidence by victims, particularly children.

Another element of the Bill is to criminalise the purchase of sexual services. "When enacted, the bill will bring Irish law into line with a number of international legal instruments," a source said.

Irish Independent

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