Less than 3 in every 1,000 sexual offences against children result in a prosecution

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Joint Press Statement from;
CARI, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Sexual Violence Centre Cork & One in Four

Less than 3 in every 1,000 sexual offences against children result in a prosecution. Our system is simply not working.

The first in a series of planned meetings of the countries leading NGO’s working in the area of child sexual abuse and sexual violence convened in Dublin today. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the implications of recent developments and legislation arising out of the “A” case and the broader issues surrounding child protection legislation and policy in terms of both implementation and practice.

We welcome and support the proposal to appoint a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Child Protection. As organisations working in the area with particular expertise we intend to fully engage with the committee in its work.

Any investigation into failures of communication between government agencies should, in our view, be dealt with as a separate process.

The meeting examined the proposed Terms of Reference issued by government for the committee and broadly welcomed them but highlighted some areas of additional concerns. Namely that:

  • The proposal to review the substantive law relating to child protection must go further and include a review of child protection policy, including its implementation and practice.
  • Rather than solely examining court procedures relating to child sexual abuse, the Committee must examine criminal justice procedures.
  • Any examination of child protection must also address the provision of effective responses and services to children and families impacted upon by child abuse and sexual violence.

The “A” case highlighted a flaw in legislation and caused justified public outrage. We are unanimous in our view that the failures are consistent and fundamental. Our daily experience of our work tells us that the system is not working to either protect children or respond to their needs. Twenty seven percent of Irish children are sexually abused and 95% of these crimes go unreported. Most damning of all, less than 3 in every 1,000 sexual offences against children result in a prosecution. Our system is simply not working.

We will seek a meeting with the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, in an effort to inform the final Terms of Reference for the Joint Oireachtas Committee, as a matter of urgency.

CARI: Mary Flaherty, National Director, Tel: 087 958 2250; Caroline Geraghty, Press Officer, Tel: 086 075 0508

Sexual Violence Centre Cork: Mary Croilly, Director, Tel: 087 250 6423

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: Ellen O’ Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive, Tel: 086 809 9618

One in Four: Colm O’ Gorman,Director, Tel: 087 758 4080; Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Director, Tel: 087 206 6212

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