The Department of Home Affairs has published implementation plans for the Domestic Abuse, Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications and Justice Reform Acts.
The plans clearly set out the next steps to bring the Acts into force – including support, training and statutory guidance, new technologies and new procedures.
Key milestones are listed in the documents, but the plans are designed to be ‘living documents’ and will be updated on a quarterly basis with progress on delivery of those steps and associated commentary.
The three Acts are crucial to ensuring our Island laws remain responsive and provide protection and support for victims of crime, as well as providing alternatives to custody where these are appropriate.
These new pieces of legislation tackle some of the most damaging crimes in our society, as well as improvements to our criminal justice system, and are changes which must be carefully applied.
New powers will be given to the police and the courts for prosecution and classification of crimes, the Acts also ensure that sentences given in law are consistent, as well as introducing other interventions including restorative justice and preventative pathways.
Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said;
‘I am delighted that the Department is publishing its Implementation Plans for the Domestic Abuse Act 2020, the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Act 2021 and the Justice Reform Act 2021. Each of these pieces of reforming legislation is hugely significant in its own right, and once progressed to full effectiveness will have a notable impact for the laws of the Island.
I have spoken before about the fact that each Act requires substantial amounts of secondary legislation and guidance to enable implementation. Detailed engagement is required with all of the agencies responsible including the Constabulary, Prosecution Team, the General Registry and Courts, and DHSC and Manx Care.’
The introduction of these Acts follows years of engagement with stakeholders, victims of crime and third sector providers, along with detailed consultation on many aspects covered by these new Acts.
Steps have already been taken to introduce and improve services on Island already, including a new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which has secured funding and will be built, the appointment of a Domestic Abuse Project Co-ordinator and the increased use of technology within our courts and custody services – such as live links.
The Department aims to have all three Acts, including the training and support network around the process, in place by Autumn 2023.
The Implementation Plans can be accessed online or a printed copy can be provided on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
An Implementation Plan in connection with the Liquor Licensing and Public Entertainment Act 2021 will be published in April 2022.