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Irish law to criminalise sex with unconscious drunk people

Sexual consent is being defined more clearly for a wider range of scenarios in the proposed amendments

The Irish government plans to redefine its laws surrounding sexual consent, better outlining scenarios in which someone could be “taken advantage of” during sex.

As the Irish Independent report, new provisions proposed by the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will “make it clear that a person who is incapable of consenting to a sexual act due to, for instance, being asleep or unconscious as a result of intoxication” isn’t capable of giving consent.

These extra protections will strengthen the current laws, which broadly outline that rape happens if a person has not consented to sexual activity, and also if the perpetrator did not seek out whether the other party gave consent or not. People unable to give consent because they were unconscious or asleep – possibly because of intoxication – will now be protected by the more detailed laws.

The law will state that a person cannot consent if they have been unlawfully detained, are unable to communicate consent because of a disability or the affirmation of consent is by a third party.

The amendment to the sexual offences bill is expected to be passed in the coming weeks, with a debate in the Dáil at the beginning of February.

Ireland’s work to protect and promote women’s rights will be looked at by the UN next month, under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), according to the Irish Sun.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre outlined the low rate of sexual violence reporting and convictions in Ireland. Noeline Blackwell, the chief executive of the Rape Crisis Centre, said: “We need effective justice structures where victims of sexual violence can safely and confidently report and where those reports then lead to the prosecution of these terrible crimes.”