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One in Four calls on Minister Mc Dowell to bring forth legislation immediately, following Supreme Court Judgement.

One in Four, the national charity which supports women and men who have experienced sexual violence, today called on Minister for Justice, Equality & Law reform to bring forth legislation to address the gap in law which now exists following the Supreme Court judgement which ruled Section 1.1 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 1935 on statutory rape to be unconstitutional.

Today, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Co-ordinator with One in Four called upon Minister Mc Dowell to act immediately:

“We now find ourselves in a position where no legislation exists to respond to statutory rape. It is alarming to realise that the result of this Supreme Court ruling means that there is no protection for girls aged 15 and under from sexual abuse and exploitation. This cannot continue. We would therefore call on the Minister to immediately bring forward legislation which will protect those who are most vulnerable in our society”

According to the Courts Service at least 54 cases of statutory rape have been before the courts since 2000 and up to seven such cases are currently due before the courts. Since 2001 those convicted could be placed on the Sex Offenders register. It now seems clear that those convictions can now be found to be unsafe and overturned. There is now a very real fear that those currently convicted of statutory rape could seek to have their names removed from the sex offenders register. This presents huge child protection concerns. It is therefore vital that Government act to ensure that no young person is placed at risk”

“We recognise that emergency legislation can often create difficulties if it is introduced too hastily. Legislation of this kind needs to be properly considered but we believe that the gravity of this situation demands urgent action” said Fitzpatrick.

 
 

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