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Order of Business

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Senator Catherine Noone

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

In recent days, I have been looking at some startling statistics which show that the number of offences in the category of attempts or threats to murder, assault or harass and related offences increased by 25% between 2005 and 2015. In addition, there was a notable increase in the number of reported sexual offences in the same period, from 1,801 in 2005 to 2,348 in 2015. Of course there are multiple reasons for these increases, including the increase in the population. A review of the news from recent months supports these statistics and reveals that numerous assaults occur during the early hours of the morning or evening when people are commuting to and from work. I suggest that a safety awareness campaign should be rolled out immediately to provide advice on removing earphones at more vulnerable times, staying alert and walking in lit areas. Notices to that effect could be displayed at DART and Luas stations and on local bus services nationwide. The prevention of sexual offences is a serious matter that must be investigated. It must underlie the prosecution of sexual assaults. If people who tend to be in their own world as they go to and from work each day were to be given small reminders of the dangers that exist, it could have a very good effect.
I would like to return to the issue of the abuse of synthetic and prescription drugs, which I raised on Tuesday. I do not think we realise the full seriousness of this situation. I heard some stories in this regard being reported on "Today with Sean O'Rourke" this morning. I have been in contact with the Minister for Education and Skills since Tuesday to discuss what we are doing to raise awareness of the use of these drugs by children. Some people start to take these drugs when they are as young as ten years of age. I suggest that as part of the new well-being educational programme that is being rolled out by the Minister for Education and Skills, children should be specifically educated about this problem. This may involve bringing children to drug rehabilitation centres or getting somebody who has experience of these drugs to come to schools to speak to young children about the detrimental effects that these drugs, which are so freely available, can have on their lives in the long term.