Saturday 24 February 2018

Electronic tagging for sex offenders among new laws

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Electronic tagging is among a raft of new measures to beef up the monitoring of sex offenders that is expected to become law by spring, Justice Minister and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald confirmed last night.

Her department is drafting amendments to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 that would allow for the electronic monitoring as well as changes to the notification requirements and risk assessments for sex offenders.

The proposed law would also allow gardaí to disclose information in "extenuating circumstances" about people on the sex offenders register and allow courts to prohibit sex offenders from working with children.

The new bill, expected to go before the Dáil this year and become law by spring, is among a raft of new legislation to protect society from "sexual violence", the minister said.

"Sexual violence is a fact of life in our society. There's a lot of influences in terms of pornography, pornographic images and child paedophilia, trafficking of women and girls," she said.

"We have to be absolutely sure that when they [sex offenders] have served sentences and that when they're in the community that the legislation is as strong as possible," she said.

The new laws are among 139 initiatives to promote equality for women and girls as part of the Justice Department's new 'National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020', which the minister launched at Dublin Castle yesterday.

Among strategies to combat violence against women, the department is drafting legislation to create a new category of crime called "harmful communications", that will include so-called 'revenge porn', as well as a new offence of stalking.

The offence of harassment will also be extended to include all forms of communication including online or other digital communications.

Irish Independent

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