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

Section 5: Abuse of position of trust: relevant positions

This section amends existing provision made for abuse of position of trust of a child in Part 3, Articles 23 to 31, of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.

Section 5(2) makes minor amendment to existing Article 2 of the 2008 Order (interpretation) by inserting new paragraph (4A) to clarify that reference to the Department means the Department of Justice.

Section 5(3) amends existing Article 28 (1)b) (positions of trust) by substituting “an order made by the Secretary of State” with “regulations made by the Department (of Justice)”.

Section 5(4) inserts new Article 29A into the 2008 Order.

New Article 29A(1) provides that, for the purpose of the offences contained in Articles 23 to 26 of the Order, a person (A) is in a position of trust in relation to another person (B) if A (knowingly) coaches, teaches, trains, supervises or instructs B on a regular basis in a sport or a religion.

Paragraph (2) defines sport and religion for the purpose of paragraph (1).

Sport includes “any game in which physical skill is the predominant factor or any form of physical recreation which is also engaged in for purposes of competition or display”.

Religion includes “a religion which involves belief in more than one god or a religion which does not involve belief in a god”.

Paragraph (3) provides that paragraph (1) does not apply where A holds a position of trust as already provided for in existing Article 28 provision (within the statutory sector).

Paragraph (4) allows the Department of Justice to amend paragraphs (1) and (2) by regulations, but only in so far as this relates to the settings involved (not the activities).

Paragraph (5) amends Article 80 of the 2008 Order. It changes the Article 80 heading to read “Orders and regulations” and inserts new paragraphs Article 80(4) and (5).

New Article 80(4) provides that regulations made under Article 28(1)(b) or 29A(4) may not be made unless a draft of them has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the Assembly.

New Article 80(5) provides that such regulations may include any incidental, supplementary, consequential, transitory, transitional or saving provision which the Department of Justice considers necessary or expedient.

Paragraph (6) provides that the Department (of Justice) must annually review Article 29A(1) and (2) of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 so as to inform the Department on whether the power in Article 29A (4) of that Order should be exercised.

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