Review of the law on child sexual exploitation

Closed 16 Apr 2019

Opened 19 Feb 2019


The Department of Justice (‘the Department’) has carried out a review of the current law relating to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland.  The review meets a commitment by former Justice Ministers to consider a wide range of legislative issues arising from the Report of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Exploitation in Northern Ireland 2014 (‘the Marshall Report’) and the Justice Committee Report on Justice in the 21st Century 2015 ('Justice in the 21st Century').

This review has considered a wide range of issues, some of which have resulted in proposals to strengthen the law to prevent CSE and to further protect children from sexual abuse.  This consultation seeks your views on these and any other issues that you think relevant but which have not been included.

In the absence of an Executive and an Assembly, it will not be possible to make significant policy changes or to take forward amendments to the law; these stages will have to await Ministerial direction.  However, this consultation provides a timely opportunity to examine these issues carefully and to develop comprehensive policy proposals, informed by your views, which will be ready to be considered and taken forward by Ministers once the Executive is restored. 

The consultation document, equality impact screening assessment and rural needs impact screening assessment are available to download below.  It is recommended that you access these documents before proceeding with the online questionnaire.

If you have any questions about the consultation, or require any of the documents in an alternative format, please contact the Department.

What Happens Next

The Department will consider all responses to this consultation and publish a summary of those responses on the Department’s website.  This consultation will ensure that all of your views are taken into account in the development of refined policy and draft legislative proposals, to be considered by Ministers once the Executive and Assembly are restored.

Any proposed changes to the law will be subject to the decisions of an incoming Justice Minister.  As they would require primary legislation, any such changes cannot be taken forward in the absence of the Executive and the Assembly. 



  • All stakeholders


  • Criminal justice
  • Crime