The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 was enacted on 22 February 2017. The Act will enhance and update laws to combat the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, including new offences relating to child sexual grooming and new and strengthened offences to tackle child pornography. The Act also criminalises the purchase of sexual services, introduces new provisions regarding the giving of evidence by victims in sexual offence trials and introduces a new offence addressing public indecency. Other provisions include maintaining the age of consent to sexual activity at 17 years of age and for a new “proximity of age” defence as well as a statutory statement of the law as regards consent to sexual acts.
Note: As the Bill gives effect to international obligations and recommendations arising from Oireachtas Committees following public consultation, a Regulatory Impact Assessment was not necessary.