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Question

562. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Justice her position on offences related to non-fatal strangulation; if her attention has been drawn to reforms in Northern Ireland in relation to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45940/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): My Department is aware of the work in Northern Ireland and of the public consultation the Justice Ministry in Northern Ireland has conducted. Officials of my Department are in contact with their counterparts in Northern Ireland in relation to this ongoing work.
It is important to note that there is modern legislation in this jurisdiction that covers non-fatal strangulation, while Northern Ireland still relies solely on section 21 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Under section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 (Assault), a person who, without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly directly or indirectly applies force to or causes an impact on the body of another, without the consent of the other, is guilty of the offence of assault. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
Under section 3 (Assault causing harm) of that Act, a person who assaults another causing him or her harm is guilty of an offence. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding €2,500 or to both, or
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.
“Harm” is defined as harm to body or mind and includes pain and unconsciousness.
The question of the introduction of a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation in this jurisdiction is currently being examined by my Department. Amongst the issues to be considered is whether there is a possibility that the creation of a standalone offence could cast doubt on the applicability of the 1997 general provision to other specific acts. Any legislative intervention in this area must, as the Deputy will understand, avoid any unintended consequences.