New measures to protect children.
Over the past six years there has been an increase of up to 64% in internet based offending yet there is no legislation to allow An Garda Síochána to seek a password from an alleged offender to search his /her computer for illegal images. Fianna Fáil will be bringing forward legislation to address this glaring gap in the criminal law legislation.
There are no official proactive measures in Ireland to catch people seeking to groom children online. The Garda Cyber Crime Bureau, which was established in September 2016, does not have the resources to proactively go after these predators. There is a lack of manpower in terms of Gardaí assigned to trying to catch child abusers grooming and exploiting children online. The Gardaí need to be resourced so that they can police the internet as they do the streets. The internet has made child grooming much easier for offenders – but it should also be used as a tool to stop them before they harm anyone.
Poor broadband in the Garda Cyber Bureau is impacting on the ability of the Gardaí to examine and download potential evidence from computers, phones and other technology devices seized. This, along with broader issues in relation to technology available to An Garda Síochána needs to be addressed without delay.
In November 2017 Fianna Fáil introduced a bill, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2017, which would see harsher penalties imposed on those found guilty of grooming and child exploitation. We will ensure this legislation is enacted.
Fianna Fáil’s plan to protect children
Include social workers in interviews
Introduce joint interviewing of child victims by Gardaí and social workers.
Dedicated support centres
Establish centres where victims of child sexual abuse can be medically examined, interviewed, given access to therapy and supported by expertly trained staff.
Stronger penalties for perpetrators
Introduce stronger penalties for those found guilty of grooming and sexual offences against children and introduce more post-release supervision.
More Resources to Gardaí
Resource An Garda Síochána so that they can police the internet as they police the streets.