The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (pictured) has pledged to publish a bill that will include new criminal offences for stalking, and for non-fatal strangulation.
The minister told TDs that the new bill would be published “before Easter”.
Pointing out that the act of stalking itself was already covered by existing law, she said that her proposals would make the law “clearer and stronger”.
The bill will:
- Explicitly reference stalking as a criminal offence,
- Make it clear that stalking includes watching or following a victim, even where they are not aware of being watched or followed,
- Make it clear that impersonating the victim, and then communicating with a third party, is illegal,
- Update the law to ensure that it covers all forms of modern communications.
Minister McEntee said that she would also consider introducing a provision to allow a victim, in very serious cases, to apply to the court for an order to prevent the alleged perpetrator from communicating with them in advance of a trial.
“While choking and strangling are already illegal, creating a new, stand-alone offence should encourage victims to come forward and report what has happened to them,” she stated.
“It has been shown that this crime can be an indication of future, lethal violence, and is a risk factor for homicides against women in the home,” she added.