Senator Katherine Zappone’s new Bill, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2014, was published today.
The Bill repeals the existing discriminatory law that criminalizes sexual activity of people who are mentally impaired unless they are married to one another (section 5, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993).
The purpose of the bill is to reform the sexual offenses law to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities and to ensure that people with disabilities have the same freedom to consent to sexual activity as people without disabilities.
The Bill aims to reform the law to ensure respect for the sexual agency of people with mental impairment while also providing protection from sexual abuse.
The Bill was created in response to a call to action by self-advocates/Disabled People's Organisations, and was researched by Doctors Eilionoir Flynn, Anna Arsteinkerslake of the Centre for Disability and Law at NUIG and Dr Brian Hunt in consultation with self-advocates.
For the first time in Ireland, an accessible Summary in Every Day Language has been published by Senator Zappone to accompany the Bill’s formal publication.
The Bill and Explanatory Memorandum are available at Oireachtas web site.