Speaking after the Justice Bill passed its Final Stage in the Assembly today, Green Party NI MLA for North Down Rachel Woods said: “This Bill is a long time coming, and especially since it has been strengthened by amendment, it will help to protect people in Northern Ireland.

“After the passage of several amendments, the Bill now has clauses on cyber-flashing, abolishing the so-called rough sex defence, and introducing a provision on threats to disclose private sexual images.

“However, much more remains to be done, especially in terms of reforming the legal definition of consent. It is deeply disturbing to think that a failure to protest or resist when subject to sexual abuse could still be considered as a form of consent.

“Despite my attempts the Bill also does not include much needed provisions such as a smacking ban or raising the age of criminal responsibility. These are matters which the Green Party NI is committed to addressing in the future.

“It’s time for mandatory, comprehensive, age-appropriate relationship and sexuality education for everyone in Northern Ireland, to help drive the societal change we need.”