Concern Over Lack Of Child Sex Abuse Investigations

Elaine Stenson
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There are concerns that a number of sex offenders are continuing to abuse children – despite complaints being made about them.

One in Four is an organisation that works with both victims of child sex abuse and offenders. It says the majority of its child protection notifications to Tusla are returned as ‘unfounded’.

However, the child and family agency insists any child who is at an immediate risk receives an immediate response.

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It says it made 91 child protection notifications to Tusla last year but the majority were returned as ‘unfounded.’ Of these notifications, only twelve victims made a full statement.

The charity says eight of these weren’t investigated or were deemed unfounded, three investigations are ongoing and only one was validated – meaning the accused in question is being monitored.

Maeve Lewis from One in Four is worried there are a number of offenders out there getting away with abusing children.

“Just because a woman was abused by her father for example, it doesn’t mean he’s not now abusing grandchildren or if somebody was abused by their teacher, that teacher may now be abusing a whole new generation of schoolchildren.”

The experience of facing the courts has been cited as the reason many victims are worried about coming forward. Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, says it needs to be made less traumatic.

“We need to put the victim at the centre of the criminal justice process; I’m suggesting a mechanism where we reframe our criminal justice system – placing the victim at the centre of that process and that involves dealing with the cross-examination at the same time as evidence in chief.”

Tusla says it can’t force victims to make a disclosure if they don’t want to and it refutes One in Four’s allegation that it didn’t investigate eight complaints. The agency says its staff work from the information that is available and follows through as appropriate.