Saturday 24 August 2019

Almost 400 sex offenders were managed in communities last year

 

Community Service: Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Community Service: Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Michael McHugh

Almost 400 sex offenders were managed in communities in Ireland in 2018, the Probation Service has said.

A "therapeutic" programme for men who have engaged in sexually harmful behaviour was run in Dublin and Cork.

Medium- and high-risk sex offenders were separately monitored in and by the community.

A floating support service helped high-risk and high-need sex offenders access and maintain accommodation in the Greater Dublin area.

The Probation Service's annual report said: "In 2018, the Probation Service managed almost 400 sex offenders in communities nationwide, with 146 managed on a multi-agency basis as part of Soram (the Sex Offender Risk Assessment/Management initiative)."

Soram was established in 2010 and supports enhanced levels of co-operation and co-ordination between key organisations involved in managing the risks posed to the community by convicted sex offenders.

It includes representatives from the Garda, Probation Service, Tusla, local authorities and the Irish Prison Service.

Under Irish law, people convicted of some sexual offences must provide certain information to the Garda.

The State maintains a record of everyone convicted of certain sexual offences.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said 355,404 hours of community work were carried out by those serving community service orders in 2018.

The Probation Service also provided €16.7m to a range of community-based organisations in 2018.

Mr Flanagan said: "The community service order is a very valuable part of the criminal justice system, allowing an offender, where appropriate, to repay their debt to society by carrying out unpaid work."

Irish Independent

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