Tougher laws that will manage and monitor sex offenders in the community are being implemented from today, Monday, November 13.
These new laws are under the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Act 2023, which was commenced by the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
The Sex Offenders (Amendment) Act 2023 will now create stricter notification requirements for sex offenders.
The amended act also allows the court to have the power to prohibit a sex offender from working with children or vulnerable people.
It allows An Garda Síochána to disclose information relating to anyone on the sex offender register where there is a serious risk to the public.
Speaking about the new laws, Minister McEntee explained, “These tough new laws will help us build stronger, safer communities and will strengthen our already robust system for monitoring sex offenders. The new laws will help alleviate understandable concerns which communities can have about sex offenders and the protection of public safety and our citizens”.
“For example, it introduces stricter notification requirements, and gives powers to the court to explicitly prohibit convicted sex offenders from working with children or vulnerable people”.
“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”.
McEntee added, “Tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence and supporting victims of crime are priorities for me and my Department. I also want to reform the criminal justice system to make it more victim-centred, and this Act contains significant measures to help in that work”.
Sex offenders normally have seven days to inform the Gardaí of their name and address after leaving prison and if there’s any change to their name or address, and this has now been reduced to three days.
The offenders also have three days to tell Gardaí if they are going to be outside the State for more than three days and if they are returning to the State having been outside it for three days.
Other new laws allow Gardaí to take fingerprints, palm-prints and photographs to confirm the identity of the person.
Minister of State James Browne spoke about the act to reveal, “We fully understand that communities have concerns about the release of sex offenders and while we do have strong monitoring provisions already in place, the stricter oversight and management requirements this important piece of legislation introduces, will provide extra reassurance”.
“It introduces significantly stricter notification requirements for offenders, will allow for electronic monitoring in certain circumstances and will explicitly prohibit convicted sex offenders from working with children or vulnerable people”.
Browne went on to say, “This legislation underlies the government’s shared commitment to keeping everyone in our communities, and in particular women and children, safe from sexual violence”.