Northern Ireland news

Executive 'far too slow' on proposed sex offence case reforms - Sir John Gillen

Sir John Gillen called for close partnership between schools and parents on a curriculum for issues of respect, consent and the need for clear boundaries. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

THE Executive is being "far too slow" at bringing in proposed reforms to how sex offence cases are dealt with in Northern Ireland, an inquiry chair has said two years after delivering his recommendations.

Retired judge Sir John Gillen made following the murder of two women on Friday.

"I hope we don't have to wait until women and girls are murdered until these things change," he told BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra.

He made 253 recommendations after being asked to review procedures in 2018, following the case of ex-Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, who were acquitted of rape charges at a high-profile trial.

Sir John said Justice Minister Naomi Long is taking the issues seriously but "you need a cross-executive approach to all of this, she can't do this on our own".

"I am satisfied that she is committed to the reforms that I have, but I have to say the outgoing is far too slow."

One of his key recommendations was for sex and relationship education for schoolchildren from primary one, with such programmed mandatory in all schools in England and Wales.

"Why aren't we doing that?" he asked.

Sir John called for close partnership between schools and parents on a curriculum for issues of respect, consent and the need for clear boundaries.

He added that the "justice system has much to change".

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Northern Ireland news