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Electronic tagging of sex offenders will help allay concerns, says Waterford Rape Crisis Centre

The Manager of the Waterford Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre has welcomed the publishing of legislation to allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in certain circumstances.

Anne Scully said the new bill - published by Justice Minister Helen McEntee this week - will strengthen the management programme for sexual offenders already in place and will allay some concerns people have about dangerous offenders in close proximity to children.

"We are living in proximity probably to sex offenders who just haven't been caught and convicted," she told Deise Today this morning (Thursday).

"There are people living in our community who have assaulted adults, and children, but have not had their day in court, so to speak," she said.

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Under the legislation, gardai can disclose information relating to a person on the sex offenders register in situations where a serious threat to public safety exists.

Anne Scully said this was a welcome addition to the current situation.

While sex offenders are required to inform gardai about their location, offenders - she said - would be easier to trace with tagging; especially in situations where people may take jobs where they are dealing with, or in close proximity, to children.

She also said told Damien Tiernan this morning that it was good to see we have a Justice Minister in place now, in Helen McEntee, who has put domestic and sexual violence to the forefront of her ministry.

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The Sex Offenders' (Amendment) Bill introduces stricter notifications - meaning sex offenders will have to inform gardai of a change of address within three days instead of the current seven days.

It also explicitly provides for the courts to prohibit sex offenders working with children or vulnerable people as well as fingerprinting and photographing of the offender to confirm their identity.

The electronic monitoring, meanwhile, is aimed at ensuring the offender complies with a sex offender order or post release supervision order.

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