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Peace of mind Rape survivor welcomes plan to introduce electronic tagging for sex offenders

"This is going to have such a positive impact on survivors feeling safe and the general public feeling safer"

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Rape survivor Debbie Cole

Rape survivor Debbie Cole

Rape survivor Debbie Cole

A rape survivor has said electronic tagging will offer much greater peace of mind to survivors. 

A new bill being published today will see a range of new measures being introduced to track convicted sex offenders.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee is publishing the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill, which would allow for sex offenders to electronically tagged and monitored.

It would also allow gardaí to warn members of the public about convicted sex offenders living in their area in certain circumstances.

Rape survivor Debbie Cole told Newstalk the plans will offer much greater peace of mind to survivors.

“In my own case, the offender that raped me has been roaming around Ireland in different places since his release and it has my nerves on edge not knowing where he is or if I am going to bump into him,” she said.

“So, for me personally, to know that the gardaí know where he is, is going to be hopefully a deterrent for him and other sex offenders.

She said the electronic tagging will make the country a safer place.

“This is going to have such a positive impact on survivors feeling safe and the general public feeling safer – that these offenders are tagged and are monitored,” she said. “It is just the best news ever.”

More than 1,700 people are subject to reporting requirements under Ireland’s existing laws, with a further 433 prisoners due to be monitored on their release.

Under tighter rules governing the Sex Offenders’ Register, offenders are required to notify gardai of any change of address within three days, which is currently seven.

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Offenders will also be barred from working with children or vulnerable people by courts.

Gardaí will also be able to take fingerprints, palm-prints and photographs to confirm the identity of the person.

While legislation also provides for electronic monitoring of sex offenders, the Department of Justice said detailed planning and procurement will mean it may be some time before this new bill is passed and then enforced.

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