New bill to halt online abuse of children
Sentences of up to 15 years will be imposed on offenders who attempt to groom children online and view child pornography over the internet in a new bill by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
The bill is also set to target child prostitution, with the Justice Minister hoping to have it in place by the end of the year.
Speaking at a seminar on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015, Ms Fitzgerald said she wants to see it enacted "as soon as possible", with it due to be debated in the Dáil this week.
The bill will make it an offence to view child pornography online and will also include the criminalisation of any communication with a child online, on the phone or through social media for sexual exploitation.
"It's dealing with the online grooming of children, pornographic approaches to children, sexually explicit material, people who would approach children with the intention of grooming them over a period of time," Ms Fitzgerald said.
Children's Rights Alliance chief, Tanya Ward said that the current laws in Ireland are outdated.
"This allows predators to exploit legal loopholes to abuse children, as well as take advantage of rapid technological advancements that are not catered for in law," she explained.