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Tougher monitoring measures for sex offenders
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13 Nov 2023 / justice Print

Tougher measures aimed at sex offenders

New legislation that introduces tougher laws to manage and monitor sex offenders comes into effect today (13 November).

The new law changes the notification requirements for sex offenders, provides for the court to prohibit a sex offender from working with children, and allows An Garda Síochána to disclose information about people on the sex-offender register where there is a serious risk to the public.

The measures take effect with the commencement of the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Act 2023.

‘Appropriate balance’

“This legislation gives An Garda Síochána and the Probation Service the tools to ensure sex offenders are managed effectively, striking an appropriate balance between monitoring and restricting offenders while also supporting them in their rehabilitation,” says Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

The act reduces, from seven to three days, the period for sex-offenders to inform gardaí of:

  • Their name and address when leaving prison,
  • Any change to their name or address,
  • Whether they are going to be outside the State for more than three days,
  • Whether they are returning to the State, having been outside it for three days,
  • Whether they are at an address in the State for three days and that address has not been notified to An Garda Síochána.

‘Extra reassurance’

Minister of State James Browne says that the stricter oversight and management requirements under the legislation will provide “extra reassurance” for communities.

Other provisions of the act include new powers for An Garda Síochána to take fingerprints, palm-prints and photographs to confirm the identity of the person.

It also places the current Sex Offenders Risk and Assessment and Management monitoring process for sex offenders on a statutory footing.

Electronic monitoring

The Department of Justice also says that a working group has been set up to develop a draft plan to inform an approach to implementing the electronic monitoring of offenders.

The group is chaired by the department, and comprises representatives of the Courts Service, the Probation Service, the Irish Prison Service and An Garda Síochána.

It is aiming is to devise a pilot study, and is currently mapping out the operational matters for consideration that will be finalised by the end of this year.

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