Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said it is essential that laws are kept up to date to ensure children and young people are protected from sexual exploitation.
The Sinn Féin justice spokesperson said:
“Today we submitted our party’s response to the consultation on Child Sexual Exploitation, which is designed to ensure that the law is kept up to date and modern to ensure the protection of children against sexual exploitation.
“Whilst we welcome the consultation, the proposals could go further to safeguard children from the horrors of sexual exploitation and we have made a series of recommendations for improvements.
“We have recommended reversing the burden of proof from child victims to the defendant for some sexual offences; extending ‘abuse of trust’ laws to include any adult who holds a position of power or trust over 16 or 17 year olds; making ‘up-skirting’ a criminal offence and criminalising the possession of a ‘child sex doll.’
“The Lanzarote Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be embedded in every aspect of the law on sexual offences against children.
“We will continue to engage with stakeholders and lobby the Department to ensure that the law is robust and sufficient to protect children from this horrific abuse which often leaves long and lasting physical, psychological and emotional damage on the victim.”