Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
130. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the issue of changing references to child pornography in legislation to child sexual abuse material to reflect the reality of the harm suffered and the crime being committed in the material has been investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50528/19]
131. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the reason his Department has not changed the term "child pornography" regarding child sexual abuse material across relevant legislation to reflect the reality of the harm suffered and the crime being committed in the material; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50432/19]
132. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Bills which would need to be amended if references to the term child pornography were changed to child sexual abuse material; his plans to update the legislation to make such changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50433/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 130 to 132, inclusive, together.
I can confirm for the Deputy that Irish law includes the term “child pornography” in relation to a number of criminal offences.
While this term was used historically, in more recent years the term “child sexual abuse material” has been preferred. International best practice regarding terminology in this area is captured in the Luxembourg Guidelines, which emphasise a preference for language referring to “child sexual abuse material” or alternatively “child sexual exploitation material”.
In line with these developments and in common with other like-minded States, in recent years my Department, when referring to action to combat online child sexual abuse and related matters, has used the term “child sexual abuse material”.
My Department may in the future consider updating the term “child pornography” where it appears in the statute book. However it is important to be aware that any amendment to existing terms in the numerous Acts and Statutory Instruments involved will need to be very carefully considered, to ensure there are no unintended legal consequences for prosecutions in these important cases.
There is no particular timeline in that regard, as the Deputy will appreciate all legislation is kept under review.