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Question

453. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the Government's strategy to tackle sexual offences and crimes that are committed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23356/15]

478. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence has formulated its new cross-sectoral strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23922/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 453 and 478 together.
A second national strategy to address domestic and sexual violence is currently being prepared by my Department. The strategy will contain an action plan towards ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention), elements of the implementation of the transposition of the EU Victims Directive into Irish law and practice, which relate to domestic and sexual violence and worthwhile actions from the first national strategy. Following completion of consultation with relevant stakeholders I will seek Government approval for the publication of the strategy which I expect to seek in the near future.
Included as part of the strategy will be the enactment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill. I envisage the Bill will be published this Dáil session. The Bill will provide for new offences of purchasing, in the context of prostitution, sexual services. It also includes wide ranging provisions to enhance the protection of children and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse and exploitation. When enacted, the Bill will facilitate full compliance with the criminal law provisions of a number of EU, UN and Council of Europe legal instruments as well as implementing the recommendations of a number of Oireachtas Committees.