Consultation opens into Isle of Man criminal justice reform

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The Isle of Man Government has launched a consultation seeking public opinion on changes to approach of criminal justice, sentencing and the management of offenders.

Three draft Bills are under discussion: Criminal Justice, Police and Courts (Amendment) Bill, Diversion of Offenders and Domestic Abuse Bill and the Council of Ministers (Amendment) Bill.

The Bills represent the first in a series aimed at updating Manx law in response to the Criminal Justice Strategy, reflecting more accurately the needs of modern society and increasing the use of technology to create a more efficient system.

One objective is to see fewer people entering the criminal justice system, reducing the number going through the courts and of reoffending, and providing an effective service to victims.

The Diversion of Offenders and Domestic Abuse Bill makes provision for the wider use of interventions such as cautions, anti-social behaviour orders and immediate financial penalties, with the second part of the Bill addressing domestic abuse.

The consultation asks for feedback on these proposals as well as definitions around coercive and controlling behaviour and whether guidance issued by the Department of Home Affairs should be taken into account by a court when trying a domestic abuse case or sentencing a person in the event of a conviction.

It’s appropriate at this point to pay tribute to the work of charities and agencies in respect of the legislation relating to domestic abuse – the Women’s Refuge has played a key role in supporting victims over nearly three decades. I am grateful for the work undertaken by Victim Support and recognise how 3S has contributed and helped raise the profile of domestic abuse more recently. Consultation plays an important role in developing the Bills and I encourage residents to engage with the process, particularly legal professionals, those involved in delivering criminal justice services and people working with victims of domestic abuse .

IOM Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey MHK

The consultation can be found on the the Isle of Man Government website, closing on 20th August 2018.