Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release
12th January 2016
Our ambiguity about sex can create opportunity for sexual exploitation
Today, upon the sentencing of a 26 year old man for online grooming and defilement of a 15 year old girl, the RCNI draw attention to our attitudes to teenage vulnerability to sexual predators.
Clíona Saidlear, head of RCNI said, ‘the grooming of children, including teenagers, for sex is a serious offence. Grooming is a weapon that most cruelly uses the victim against themselves. A predator in grooming seeks to make the victim active and blameworthy of the crime being committed against them. It is critical that we challenge grooming by ensuring we consistently identify and condemn grooming, placing the blame where it belongs, on the predator.
RCNI welcome the new offences of online grooming which are being brought in under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015. This much anticipated Bill which is in the Seanad again this Thursday before moving to the Dail, is now urgently needed to bring our laws up to date with changing technology and opportunity for predators.
Ms Saidléar continued, ‘In order to support vulnerable young people we must be clear about the difference between non-abusive behaviour and grooming. We must not shy away from naming sexual exploitation and our duty to intervene and protect, under due process, for fear of offending or seeming overbearing. We can lessen a predator’s opportunity to sexually exploit a child, and empower the child targeted in this manner, if we are clear on these issues.’
Clíona Saidléar 0872196447