Fine Gael TD calls for definition of consent to be included in Sexual Offences Bill

Dublin Rathdown TD Josepha Madigan says it is an issue that needs to be addressed "by both legislation and society"

Fine Gael TD calls for definition of consent to be included in Sexual Offences Bill

Josepha Madigan. Image: RollingNews.ie

Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan has called for the definition of consent to be included in a new Sexual Offences Bill.

The Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill, which was published last year, was discussed in the Dáil today.

The bill contains provisions such as new measures to protect children from predators & grooming, new offences addressing public indecency, and the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services.

While broadly welcoming the bill, Deputy Madigan suggested "on the issue of consent I feel that this bill could do more".

Speaking in the Dáil she said: “On the issue of consent I feel that this bill could do more. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed by both legislation and society. Irish author Louise O’Neill with her bestselling book Asking for It and resulting TV documentary is ensuring that the word consent remains in our vernacular and helps us all to focus our minds on what defines consent.

“I do firmly believe it is in the interests of victims that we have a statutory definition of what constitutes consent or otherwise in our legislation. I am asking the Minister for Justice to include a definition of consent in this bill," she added.

Separately, the Taoiseach indicated that the preparation of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill is 'well underway'.

The bill aims to "enact legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families".