The Sex Offenders Act 2001 came into force in Ireland in June 2001. This law has significantly changed the way sex offenders are treated by the criminal justice system in Ireland. Those who are convicted of certain sexual offences are now obliged to provide certain information to the Gardaí including the address at which they are living following their release from prison.
While the term Sex Offenders Register is commonly used in Ireland, there is in fact no such register and the term is not included in any section of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The only information on the whereabouts of sex offenders in Ireland which is held centrally by the Gardaí is a certificate issued by the court in relation to those convicted by the court of sexual offences.
This certificate states that the convicted person is now subject to the requirements of the Sex Offenders Act, 2001. The Garda Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit also receive a copy of the Sex Offenders Notification Form from the Garda station in whose area the sex offender resides. This means that details of everyone subject to the requirements of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 are held centrally and these certificates are commonly known as the Sex Offenders Register. Further information on the monitoring of sex offenders in Ireland is available here.
The obligation of sex offenders to notify certain information to the Gardaí is set down in Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001.
The list of sexual offences which are subject to the Act are as follows:
In the case of sexual assault and incest, the Sex Offenders Act 2001 does not apply if the victim or other party to the offence was aged 17 years or more when the offence was committed and the person convicted has not been sentenced to any punishment involving imprisonment or made subject to any measures involving deprivation of liberty.
In the case of defilement of a child aged under 17 years, the Act does not apply if the offender is not more than two years older than the victim. This provisions is set out in Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 2006.
More information on the law on sexual offences is available here.
If you are convicted of a sexual offence and becomes subject to the reporting requirements you must notify the Gardaí of your name and home address within 7 days of becoming subject to the requirements. (This normally means within 7 days following your release from prison).
Similarly you must notify the Gardaí within 7 days of any change of name and or change of home address or if you intend to reside elsewhere in Ireland for more than 7 days. Offenders must also notify the Gardaí if they intend to leave Ireland for 7 days or more and are required to provide the Gardaí with the address of the place outside Ireland that they intend to reside or stay at.
Where someone who is subject to the sex offender notification requirements is imprisoned in respect of any offence and the release of that person is imminent, the governor in charge of the prison must notify the Garda Commissioner of the pending release at least 10 days before the date of the release.
If you are required to provide certain information to the Gardaí under the Sex Offenders Act, 2001 you may give notification in the following way:
After the Gardaí receive the notification, they acknowledge it in writing. The Gardaí also complete a Sex Offenders Notification Form. The original completed form is sent to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit at Harcourt Square, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2. A copy of the form is sent to the offender and a copy is retained in the Garda station.
You are obliged to provide information to the Gardaí regarding yourself:
If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment and part of that term is suspended, you are considered to be sentenced to the part not suspended.
Anyone required to report to the Gardaí indefinitely is allowed to apply to the Circuit Court for a cancellation from that obligation after at least 10 years have passed from the date of the person’s release from custody. If, however, you intend to apply for a cancellation you are required to notify the Garda Superintendent in whose area you reside of your intention to make the application.
If you fail (without reasonable excuse) to comply with the notification requirements, including providing false or misleading information, you may be prosecuted. If convicted you are liable for:
Yes they do. If you are convicted of a sexual offence outside Ireland where that offence would constitute a sexual offence in Ireland, you are subject to the same Garda notification requirements if you subsequently come to live in Ireland. If you fail to notify the Gardaí of your details, then the Gardaí can prosecute you for non-compliance or failure to comply with the requirements.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.