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Explanatory Memorandum to Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Consultation

7.4.A proposal for an Order was prepared; referred to the Northern Ireland Assembly under Section 85(4) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998; and put out to public consultation on 20 November 2007.  The consultation period formally ended on 5 February 2008.  A total of 369 responses were received on the Order.  This included responses from 29 organisations, political parties and elected representatives, in addition to a response in the form of a report from the Northern Ireland Assembly.  However, a majority of responses received (340) were from individuals responding in a personal capacity and opposing the reduction in the so called ‘age of consent’ from 17 to 16 years of age.

7.5.The Assembly report considered that in general terms the sweep of the proposed legislation was sound and that it was the right approach to take, with the exception of the ‘age of consent’ issue.

7.6.A number of provisions were changed in light of the representations made and further policy consideration during the consultation period.  These are detailed in a statement being laid before Parliament with the Order, a copy of the Assembly’s report and a statement containing a summary of representations.

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