NI: Consultation on child sexual exploitation law closes

NI: Consultation on child sexual exploitation law closes

A consultation on proposals to strengthen the law to protect children in Northern Ireland from sexual exploitation and abuse has closed.

The consultation looked at 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 proposed additional measures to assist in dealing with ‘up-skirting’ and strengthened police powers to prevent and stop exploitation and abuse.

This consultation exercise, which closed yesterday, 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.

Raymond McCartney, justice spokesperson for Sinn Féin, said the proposals “could go further to safeguard children from the horrors of sexual exploitation and we have made a series of recommendations for improvements”.

He said the party’s submission “recommended reversing the burden of proof from child victims to the defendant for some sexual offences; extending ‘abuse of trust’ laws to include any adult who holds a position of power or trust over 16- or 17-year olds; making ‘up-skirting’ a criminal offence and criminalising the possession of a ‘child sex doll’”.

Share icon
Share this article: