The Cabinet will today discuss the new Sex Offences Bill, which is currently making its way through the houses of the Oireachtas, including proposed reforms to systems for treating both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse.
The debate over the treatment of sex offenders, and the right of the community to know if the offender lives among them, has raged in the past week after a video emerged recently of a man attacking a convicted child rapist inside a garda station in Dublin.
The debate since then has focused on vigilante justice and the question of what to do with convicted sex offenders when they have returned to normal society?
Almost 50% of those who voted in the Newstalk.com poll below said parents should have access to information on sex offenders in their area, with an additional 33% saying they should, but clarifying a need to resist mob mentality.
Only 15% said parents should not have access to the information.
You can still have your say in the poll below:
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Newstalk Breakfast spoke with Maeve Lewis, Executive Director of One in Four, and Padraig MacLochlainn, TD for Donegal North East and Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, this morning.
Ms Lewis said that while she could “really understand the concern parents might have if there were convicted sex offenders living in the community” it was still important to resist any temptations to give in to mob mentality.
“I think we need to take a deep breath and stand back and a look at what is the best way to protect children,” she said.
The man attacked in the video has been widely identified in the press and on social media – by radio show hosts to politicians in recent weeks – and Chris asked Ms Lewis what the knock on effect of that could be.
“I suspect what will happen is that man is going to go underground and that is when he will be most dangerous,” she said.
“All the research shows right around the world that if we are to keep children safe, the sex offenders we know, be they convicted or not, need a number of things – they need not to be living in isolation.
“They need support from the community, they need to have meaningful work and they need to be managed by the statutory services.
“The guards, the probation officers, social workers need to know where they are and keep an eye on them.”
Listen below to the full discussion, covering the new Bill and what needs to be done to better deal with the issue of reintroducing sex offenders to society and safeguarding children