Tougher Sentences For Domestic...


Tougher Sentences For Domestic Abusers And Those Who Attack Emergency Workers

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas

02:15 1 Nov 2023

Share this article

Domestic abusers and people convicted of assaulting emergency staff could face more time behind bars from today.

But charities and representative groups are warning that the new legislation must be enforced properly if it’s to be effective.

From today, if you’re convicted of assaulting or threatening to assault a Garda or other on-duty emergency workers, you could be jailed for up to 12 years.

Brendan Flynn from the National Ambulance Service Representative Association says the long waiting times for ambulances has led to a noticeable rise in aggression against their members:

"There's obviously a level of frustration and that's understandable, but it certainly is not appropriate to be taking that out on emergency workers."

Justice Minister Helen McEntee at the launch of national missing persons week at Croke Park, Dublin in December 2021.

"Too Many Occasions"

Justice Minister Helen McEntee, in announcing the changes, said:

“On too many occasions in recent years we have seen Gardaí, hospital staff, members of the fire brigade and many other frontline workers assaulted as they go about their business protecting people and communities."

"Increasing the maximum sentence for such crimes will be an important deterrent and also clearly communicates the gravity of such crimes."

Among the other changes is a widening of the existing harassment offence to include any conduct that seriously interferes with a person’s peace and privacy or causes distress.

Brand new offences are also coming into force today - including for stalking and non-fatal strangulation and suffocation.

Women’s Aid says the news laws are very welcome, but its CEO Sarah Benson must be enforced:

Sarah says "all actors in the legal system" are "aware" of this and "they start to implement them as soon as possible."

Women's Aid will be "tracking," this, she concluded.

Photo: Mark Strozier / Alamy Stock Photo

Share this article

Read more about

Crime Justice Stalking Tougher Sentences