Public Consultation Launched On Child Sexual Exploitation Law

The Department of Justice has launched an eight week consultation period on proposed measures to strengthen the law in order to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

Views are being sought on the current regulations, in a bid to help the department ensure law on the matter is up to date, particularly regarding modern platforms such as social media.

Interested parties, especially those with experience dealing with the issue, are invited to submit their opinions.
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Permanent Secretary for the Department of Justice, Peter May said: "We want to ensure that the legal framework for protecting children is up to date, appropriate and effective in all aspects, including emerging trends such as online and technology-based abuse. These laws are essential, not just to protect children and young people from abuse, but also to bring perpetrators to justice. The outcome of this consultation will contribute towards creating a safe community by ensuring that the law relating to these issues remains valid and appropriate. I would encourage everyone with an interest in protecting children to access the consultation and give your views on these important issues."

The consultation looks at the existing criminal law relating to a number of specific areas including: indecent images of children; grooming and online exploitation; child abduction; child sex dolls and sexual offences involving abuse of trust. It also proposes additional measures to assist in dealing with 'up-skirting' and strengthened police powers to prevent and stop exploitation and abuse.

This consultation exercise will allow proposals to be developed in readiness for consideration by a future Justice Minister. Any legislative changes arising from the consultation proposals will need the approval of a Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

Responses will be welcomed up until the closing date of Tuesday 16 April 2019, and can be submitted online via the NI Direct website .


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