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29th Apr 2022

Sex crime victims could be given access to photos of abusers upon release from prison

Tara Trevaskis Hoskin

Only where a victim wants it.

The Minister for Justice is to explore giving updated photographs to victims of sex crimes of their abusers upon prison release. 

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee made the comments at the Justice Committee this week, saying that she would be open to looking at the prospect of allowing victims of sex crimes to access updated photographs of their offenders when they are released from prison. 

As reported by The Journal, the committee saw TDs discuss the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2021.

The Minister highlighted that it should also be made clear to victims that they have a right to information about their offenders’ release from prison, but this should be done under separate legislation. 

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on justice, Martin Kenny, posed the question to the minister regarding whether it would be possible to provide photographs and notifications about the release of offenders to victims. 

In response, McEntee said, “It’s something I’m happy to explore further to maybe look at it through the Victims of Crime Act, but only to do so where a victim wants it and it’s appropriate and they’ve asked for it.” 

She spoke about how there would need to be an appropriate process for this to happen. 

“Obviously you don’t want a situation where you have Soram (Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management) which is not necessarily equipped for dealing with victims as opposed to offenders, presenting someone with a photo if they haven’t asked for it or it’s not something that they required,” she said. 

Kenny also raised the issue of victims not being contacted directly when their offender is released despite having the right to the information. 

At present victims are entitled to information about their offenders’ release, however, they must request this information rather than being automatically notified. 

This can cause further hurt and trauma to victims and Mr.Kenny highlighted this. 

“I think we have all at different occasions come across circumstances where individuals have got the shock of their lives when they meet the person that had done them serious harm on the street or in the supermarket or wherever and were unaware that they were released,” he told the committee. 

Feature Image via Sam Boal /