Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Sex Offenders Notification Requirements

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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148. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied with the level of compliance by persons who are subject to the requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001; the number of breaches of these conditions recorded by An Garda Síochána in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28804/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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I know that the Deputy appreciates how critically important it is from a public safety point of view that we have an effective system in place for managing our sex offenders. This must be a system in which the Gardaí know where these offenders are living, and the offenders remain engaged with important, tailored risk-management and rehabilitative measures which are designed to lower the risk of the person committing further offences.

In many cases, a person found guilty of a sexual offence automatically becomes subject to the registration/notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

The sex offender is then obliged to notify the Gardaí of their name and address for a period. Any change in address must also be notified to Gardaí within a specified time. Failure to do so constitutes an offence.

Both monitoring and breach of the notification requirements are a matter for An Garda Síochána. The Garda National Protective Services Bureau has a dedicated unit, the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit, which has oversight and monitoring responsibility at national level for the management of registered sex offenders.

I am advised that as of May 26th this year, there are 1,706 people recorded at the Unit who are subject to Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act.

I am further advised that in 2020, 19 people were charged with 22 offences contrary to section 12 of the Act and this year to date, 6 people have been charged with 6 offences contrary to section 12 of the Act.

While these figures indicate that there is high level of compliance with Part 2 orders, the Deputy is aware that work is ongoing to amend the existing legislation relating to the monitoring of sex offenders.

The Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill will, among other things, strengthen and tighten the notification requirements for convicted sex offenders.

At present a convicted sex offender has 7 days in which to notify Gardaí of their place of residence or of a change in address. The new Bill proposes to reduce this to 3 days which will remove any delay in information provided to An Garda Síochána and will better facilitate the continuous monitoring of the movement of convicted sex offenders.

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