A range of new criminal offences and tougher sentences for existing offences come into effect from today, November 1 2023.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced the news this morning.
The offences include measures targeting violent and organised crime, and violence against Gardaí and other emergency service workers.
There are now also landmark measures to support victims and punish perpetrators of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
Minister McEntee said the new laws and tougher sentences mark a milestone in the Government’s efforts to build stronger, safer communities and have Zero Tolerance of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
From today, and under Minister McEntee’s Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023, the maximum sentence for assault causing harm, a common offence in domestic abuse cases as well as in other assaults, increases from five years to ten years.
The scope of the existing harassment offence is widened to include any conduct that seriously interferes with a person’s peace and privacy, or causes alarm, distress or harm.
There is now a new standalone offence of stalking in effect, with a maximum sentence of up to ten years.
A standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation or non-fatal suffocation has also been introduced. This carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years. A standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation or non-fatal suffocation causing serious harm with a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment has been created too. These are often indicators of further, potentially lethal violence against a woman.
The maximum sentence for assaulting or threatening to assault a Garda or other on duty emergency workers increases from 7 to 12 years.
The maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder increases from the current penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment. This has been designed to further toughen the laws around gangland crime.
Speaking about the new criminal offences and toughening of existing sentences today, Minister McEntee explained, “The commencement of this Act is an important milestone and underlines this Government’s commitment to building stronger, safer communities”.
“This means tackling gangland criminals, ensuring our Gardaí and emergency workers are supported in the work they do and having Zero Tolerance for domestic, sexual and gender based violence”.