Sunday 28 December 2014

What the law says

Published 23/02/2014 | 02:30

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 makes it an offence to have or attempt to have sexual intercourse with a mentally impaired person unless they are married.

Originally introduced as a measure of protecting people with intellectual disability from sexual abuse, as a piece of legislation it is widely regarded as deficient.

"In effect, this law both criminalises consenting couples with intellectual disabilities and fails to protect them from sexual attack other than penetrative sex," says Siobhán Kane of Inclusion Ireland.

According to the Law Reform Commission (LRC): "It fails to empower people whose capacity may be at issue to realise their right to sexual expression" and "it ignores the reality that abuse often arises from unwanted sexual acts other than sexual intercourse".

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