Minister Flanagan announces commencement of harassment orders against convicted sex offenders
Courts can impose orders prohibiting sex offenders from contacting or approaching their victims from today
Breach of harassment order will be an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years
26 February 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has announced that courts will be able to impose harassment orders, prohibiting convicted sex offenders from contacting or approaching their victim for a specified period of time, from today, Monday 26 February 2018. The measure is included in an Order signed by the Minister which commences further provisions of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.
Announcing the commencement of these provisions, the Minister said: “The introduction of harassment orders is an important step to help protect those who have suffered from sexual offences from being victimised further by their attackers. Breach of these orders will be an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years. I hope this measure will help bring some peace of mind to victims in the potentially traumatic period around the release of their attacker.”
Harassment orders may prohibit the offender from communicating by any means with the victim or from approaching within a distance specified by the court of the victim’s home, workplace or any other place frequented by the victim as the court deems appropriate. Orders can be imposed at the time of the offender’s sentence, where the sentence includes a term of imprisonment, or at any time before the offender’s release from prison (including time for remission). The orders may be made for a term not exceeding 12 months from the date of the offenders release from prison.
The Order signed by the Minister also commences the provisions of the Act which amends the Sex Offenders Act 2001 to allow a court to amend conditions or include new conditions for convicted sex offenders under the supervision of the probation service post-release.
Note for editors:
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 can be viewed online at https://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2017/a0217.pdf
The Act was signed on 22 February 2017 and much of the Act was commenced on Monday 27 March 2017. This new Order commences a number of sections in Part 8 (sections 46, 47 and 51(b)). Work is continuing on all other outstanding provisions to ensure that the 2017 Act is commenced in full.