14/09/2021

Number Of New Sexual Offences Set To Become Law

A number of new sexual offences, including up-skirting, down-blousing and adults masquerading as children online, are set to become law following the introduction of the second stage of legislation by Justice Minister, Naomi Long.

Naomi Long said: "The Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill has the protection of victims at its heart. I am determined to do everything I can to ensure victims are heard and that they feel confident in the criminal justice system.

"This Bill incorporates recommendations from the Gillen Review of serious sexual offences and it also implements elements following a review of the law on child sexual exploitation and sexual offences against children.

"Services for victims of trafficking and exploitation will also be enhanced as a result of this legislation."

Provisions within the Bill include the exclusion of the public from all serious sexual offence hearings and the introduction of anonymity for defendants pre-charge.

New offences of adults masquerading as children online, up-skirting and down blousing will also be created.
News Image
Speaking in the Assembly Chamber today, Minister Long also set out a number of amendments which have been agreed by the Executive for development and inclusion in the Bill.

These include strengthening current 'revenge pornography' laws to include threats to disclose private sexual photographs in order to cause distress; making provisions to ensure consent for serious harm for the purpose of sexual gratification cannot lawfully be given in relation to addressing the use of 'the rough sex defence'; and the extension of existing legislation covering an abuse of position of trust of a child to include sports and faith settings.

Naomi Long concluded: "This is important legislation, which strengthens existing law and introduces new offences. It will make our communities safer and it will have a real, tangible and positive effect for victims, introducing valuable additional protections for the most vulnerable.

"The fact that I am able to bring this Bill forward today underlines the importance of devolution and how the Assembly really can make a tangible and positive difference to lives in Northern Ireland.

"I look forward to working with the Justice Committee and my Assembly colleagues to ensure the provisions of this Bill are enacted this mandate."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 November 2021
Consultation Launches On Proposals For 'Charlotte's Law'
Justice Minister Naomi Long has launched a public consultation on proposals for 'Charlotte's Law'. The consultation follows a review of current law in relation to disclosure of information on the locations of victims' remains by those convicted of their killing.
31 March 2010
Irish Sex Crime Unit On Way
The Irish Republic's police force is to establish a specialist unit to deal with the management of sexual offences.
09 February 2009
Suicide Deaths' Suspect Facing Sex Probe
A probe into alleged sexual offences has been opened as the man accused of a double murder in Castlerock 18 years ago faces further questioning by police. An application was made to question Colin Howell about alleged sexual offences at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday.
06 July 2021
Legislation Introduced To Strengthen NI's Sexual Offences And Trafficking Laws
New legislation to improve public safety by updating the law on sexual offending in Northern Ireland has been introduced by Justice Minister Naomi Long.
13 August 2012
One-Fifth Of Child Sexual Assaults Done By Family
Almost one in five of sexual assaults against children in Northern Ireland are carried out by a member of the child's immediate family, research suggests. The NSPCC analysed police data to assess crimes against children between 2008 and 2010.