Safe Ireland welcomes the announcement by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, to introduce new legislation which will criminalise stalking and non-fatal strangulation and increase sentencing for assault causing harm. The decision by Government to support the proposed Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 is an acknowledgement of the limitations of existing legal protection and current maximum sentences.
The proposed legislation must place the rights of victims at the heart of criminal proceedings, ensure the victim is safe and to render investigations and prosecutions more effective.
The introduction of civil orders for restraint are an important provision where perpetrators may not be deterred by criminal proceedings and it is important therefore that breaches of restraint will carry criminal sanctions. Provision must also be made to provide adequate training for law enforcement and judiciary to understand the patterns of these abuses and to provide adequate support services to victims.
The new Bill will move Ireland closer to achieving its obligations under Articles 49-58 of the Istanbul Convention and bring the State in line with other jurisdictions who have already progressed similar measures.