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New legislation will allow for electronic monitoring of sex offenders

The new bill published by the Justice Minister also gives additional powers to gardaí.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Helen McEntee has published new legislation which will provide for electronic monitoring of sex offenders and allow gardaí to disclose information about people on the sex offenders’ register in certain circumstances.

Minister McEntee said she “understands the concerns communities can have about sex offenders and the protection of public safety and our citizens, and this legislation will help to alleviate those concerns”.

The Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2021 will mean:

  • Sex offenders will have to notify gardaí within three days (rather than the current seven) if they have a change of address;
  • There will be an explicit power for courts to prohibit a sex offender from working with children and adults;
  • Gardaí will have powers to take fingerprints, palm-prints and photographs to confirm the identity of the person;
  • A legislative basis will be created for the assessment and management of risk posed by sex offenders across teams involving probation officers, gardaí and Tusla;
  • Gardaí will be allowed to disclose information relating to persons on the sex offender register, in extenuating circumstances (for example, where there is a serious threat to public safety);
  • Gardaí will be able to apply for the discharge and variation of a sex offender order;
  • Electronic monitoring of sex offenders will be allowed to assist in ensuring an offender’s compliance with a sex offender order or post release supervision order.

“Tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence and supporting victims of crime are priorities for me and my department,” the minister said.

“I also want to reform the criminal justice system to make it more victim centred, and this Bill contains significant measures to help in that work.”

The minister said it is her intention that this Bill will be enacted in the coming months.

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