Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (107)

Maureen O'Sullivan


107. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on reports that violence against sex workers has increased substantially since the enactment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the aims of the Act have not had the desired effect, as highlighted by an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26842/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In relation to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, Part 4 of the Act provides for two new offences of paying for sexual activity with a prostitute and paying for sexual activity with a trafficked person. The Act also removes those who offer their services as a prostitute from the existing offences of soliciting for the purpose of prostitution.

A fundamental focus in the introduction of this legislation was to ensure that the women working in the prostitution sector would have increased protection and face no repercussions for reporting crimes related to their work. In relation to the Deputy's reference to violence against women providing sexual services, I would encourage anyone who has been the subject of a violent crime to report that incident to An Garda Síochána, and for any group with evidence of such crimes to present any data to An Garda Síochána.

Part 4 of the 2017 Act is due to be reviewed in early 2020, and will include an assessment of the impact on the welfare of those who engage in sexual activity for payment, as well as statistics on prosecutions and convictions. My Department has made funding available for research into the impact of the legislative changes.