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Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Miscellaneous amendments as to sexual offences

18.Provisions also amend the 2008 Order to remove and replace existing references to ‘child prostitution’ and ‘child pornography’.

19.The Department considers that this terminology is outdated and that its use tends to minimise the abuse suffered by children through such forms of exploitation. The terms may be taken as implying that children are somehow responsible or willing participants in their own abuse, which has the effect of stigmatising and ‘blaming’ victims for what has happened to them.

20.It is hoped that amending the legislative references will go some way to helping raise awareness of the status of children as victims of exploitation rather than as willing participants or being complicit in the abuse perpetrated by others. This change reflects particular recommendation made in the Marshall Report, as well as changes made in England and Wales.

21.The 2008 Order is also amended to widen the scope of the definition of ‘images’ relevant to specific offences within the Order to include ‘live streaming’. As it currently stands, the legislation around indecent images of a child only relates to ‘recorded’ images. Specifying the use of live streaming in statute is designed to ensure that the law in this regard is in keeping with updates in modern technology.

22.Provision is also made to bring the Article 22A offence of sexual communication with a child, contained within the 2008 Order, within scope of extra-territorial jurisdiction arrangements. Minor amendment is also being made to the offence of paying for sexual services as contained in Article 64A of the 2008 Order, but only in so far as to provide clarity on what constitutes an offence under this provision.

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