Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has today welcomed the introduction of the revised Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill to the Assembly but expressed her disappointment that key provisions have had to be removed to secure its progression.
The party’s Justice Spokesperson said:
“The introduction of the Justice Bill has been long overdue and I welcome its introduction to the Assembly today.
“It is hugely disappointing, however, that important provisions of the Bill have had to be removed to secure its recent approval at the Executive.
“Four of the five Executive parties supported this Bill when the Justice Minister first tried to introduce it over two months ago.
“The DUP, despite being on record saying their party had no issue with the content of the Bill as drafted, disgracefully blocked the Bill from progression for fear of potential amendments at later stages.
“This was a shameful derogation of legislative responsibilities and showed contempt for the democratic process.
“Nonetheless the Bill as it stands contains hugely important provisions which will implement key recommendations from the Gillen Review of serious sexual offence cases and the review of the law on child sexual exploitation and sexual offences against children.
“It will also introduce new offences of up-skirting and down-blousing and improve services for victims of trafficking and exploitation.
“I am very pleased to see progression on these important issues and I look forward to working with colleagues in the Assembly and in the Justice Committee to ensure these important protections for victims can be in place before the end of the mandate.”