News / Blog

Have We Learned Nothing About Child Sexual Abuse?

November 13, 2014

The Dail debate yesterday on the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill highlights yet again the enormous challenges facing survivors of child sexual abuse in this country in accessing support and justice. That yet again it took the decision of a remarkable, courageous survivor to speak publicly about her ordeal to force our political leaders to confront the reality of sexual abuse in Irish society.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis says: “ The story unfolded in a manner with which we are now familiar: the initial denial by Sinn Fein leadership that they had previous knowledge of Mairia Cahill’s abuse, followed by the drip feed of information and then the tardy acceptance of the veracity of the survivor’s account of events.   Mairia Cahill has described how distressing this process has been for her, but it has also caused immense suffering to other survivors of abuse, regardless of the context in which that happened.  People have been phoning One in Four describing their intense suffering as memories of their own abuse are retriggered.”

“This underlines the need for each one of us to take responsibility for information that we become aware of regarding a risk to children and to pass that information to child protection services and to the Gardaí. The reality is that one in four Irish people experience sexual violence, and that cycle will continue until we intervene decisively. It is only five years since the entire country was appalled by the revelations of institutional abuse in the Ryan Report and there have been a number of high profile Reports since then.  The common theme across all the Reports and in Mairia Cahill’s account is that people knew and failed to take appropriate action, compounding the survivors’ hurt. “

“It may be useful to hold an Inquiry into the sexual abuse of children within the Republican movement.  However, we need to be careful not to put undue pressure on other survivors to come forward if, as it appears, many of them are frightened to do so.  But what is equally important is that we take a decision in this country to finally prioritise the protection and well-being of children.  Despite all the handwringing at every level, we still do not have a well-resourced child protection service.   Services for children who have been recently abused are almost non-existent and services for adult survivors struggle to meet the needs of people seeking help in a timely way.”

Maeve Lewis ends: “As we approach the centenary of 1916, we will have little to celebrate if we are not cherishing the children of the State but actually accepting on-going sexual abuse.  Have we learned nothing?”

You can help survivors of sexual abuse by making a donation here.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

Categories: Press Releases.

Training

July 23, 2013

 

 

Training

Child Protection and the Counsellor / Psychotherapist

New legislation will introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse to Ireland for the first time shortly.  This one day training course is designed for counsellors and psychotherapists working with adult survivors of child sexual abuse and explores the impact of mandatory reporting on their work.

 

The course addresses:

·         A review of the new legislation

·         Reporting to the statutory authorities

·         Introducing the concept of mandatory reporting to clients

·         Exploring the impact of mandatory reporting on the therapeutic relationship.

The course is facilitated by experienced One in Four staff therapists and advocacy officers.

The course is available to groups or organisations and to individuals.

 

Further details from Margaret at 01 6624070 or margaret@oneinfour.ie

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

Categories: General.

Voting Yes in the Children’s Referendum

November 9, 2012

 

Voting Yes in the Children’s Referendum

Tomorrow we will vote on the Children’s Referendum.  It may be the most important vote any of us get a chance to cast in our lifetimes.  I will be voting “Yes”.

Every day at One in Four we meet men and women who were sexually abused as children, most of them in their own families.  We see the suffering they have endured throughout their lives as a result.  Many of them tried to tell about the abuse when it was happening but nobody listened and the abuse went on.  Is this really what we want for our children now and for children in the future?

We all know that a loving family is the best place for a child to grow up, and for most children that is what they experience.  But for some children, sadly, the family is the most dangerous place in the world.

If the Referendum is passed, the best interest of the child will have to be at the centre of all decisions concerning them in relation to child protection, custody, access and adoption.  The State will only be able to intervene in exceptional circumstances when there is a serious risk to the child.  And the State will also be obliged to provide support to families who are struggling before it gets to the point where children would be taken into care.  It is likely that fewer rather than more children will come into care as a result.  But those who really need it will be protected.

In Ireland children have been sexually abused in their families, neighbourhoods, parishes and in the residential institutions while in the care of the State.  We all know what can happen behind closed doors if children are silenced.  In many cases neighbours and professionals suspected something was wrong but felt helpless to act.  This Referendum will help to ensure that the voice of the child must be taken into account when decisions are being made about them.  We must never again have a situation where children are not heeded when they try to tell us about abuse.

The barrister Geoffrey Shannon said recently that if this Referendum, fails, we will go back 100 years in our child protection system.  If you have read the Kilkenny Incest Report or the Ryan Report  or the Roscommon Report – do you really want to maintain that system?  Vote Yes on Saturday and help to put our shameful past behind us.

Maeve Lewis

November 9th 2012

 

 

 

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

Categories: General.

A Day to Celebrate 19th September, 2012

September 19, 2012

A Day To Celebrate

 

 SEPTEMBER 19TH 2012

 

Today is a day to celebrate.  For everybody who has suffered in childhood, for parents, for all the people who work with and for children, we should remember September  19th 2012.  After twenty years of talk and promises, the wording for a children’s referendum has finally been published

The wording published today is robust but balanced.  It places the best interest of the child at the heart of all decisions regarding a child’s welfare and protection, and ensures that where appropriate, the child’s views will be taken into account in making those decisions. We are especially pleased that the wording contains the word “shall” rather than “may”, which will create an imperative for the Courts or any other agencies to consider always what is best for the child.“

Children of married parents who are in long-term care with no possibility of reconciliation with their families will be given a second chance of belonging to a loving family through adoption.

Some people have been concerned that a constitutional change would allow the State interfere unduly in family life.  These fears should be allayed today.  The State can only intervene in exceptional cases in a manner proportionate to the extent to which the safety or welfare of the child is at risk.

Reports going back twenty years have exposed the dark side of Irish society and have questioned our fondly held belief that Ireland is a good place to be a child.  At One in Four we work with men and women who were raped and sexually assaulted when they were children and whose lives have been devastated.  Most were sexually abused in their own families.  In many situations the abuse could have been stopped or prevented if only adults had acted.  I believe that if passed this Referendum will help to ensure that the learning from the terrible Reports will be put into practice and that we will create a culture where every adult knows that they are responsible for the wellbeing every child.   

Of course for this to happen we have to make sure that the referendum will be passed.

Maeve Lewis

Executive Director

 

  

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

Categories: General.

Press Release One in Four Warmly Welcomes the Wording For the Constitutional Referendum on Children

September 19, 2012

 

PRESS RELEASE

SEPTEMBER 19TH 2012

ONE IN FOUR WARMLY WELCOMES THE WORDING FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM ON CHILDREN

One in Four warmly welcomes the wording published today for the Constitutional Referendum on Children and congratulates Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, for her tremendous work in bringing it forward.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis says:  “The wording published today is robust but balanced.  It places the best interest of the child at the heart of all decisions regarding a child’s welfare and protection, and ensures that where appropriate, the child’s views will be taken into account in making those decisions. We are especially pleased that the wording contains the word “shall” rather than “may”, thus creating an imperative for the Courts or other agencies to consider always what is best for the child.“

“The provisions will allow that children of married parents who are in long-term care with no possibility of reconciliation with their families will be given a second chance of belonging to a loving family through adoption”.

“Concerns that the State will unduly interfere in family life should also be allayed by the wording.  The State can only intervene in exceptional cases in a manner proportionate to the extent to which the safety or welfare of the child is prejudiced.”

Maeve Lewis ends: “Reports going back twenty years have exposed the dark side of Irish society and have belied our fondly held belief that Ireland is a good place to be a child.  At One in Four we work with men and women who were raped and sexually assaulted when they were children and whose lives have been devastated by this experience.  Most were sexually abused in their own families.  In many situations the abuse could have been stopped or prevented if only adults had acted.  I believe that if passed this Referendum will help to ensure that the learning from the terrible Reports will be put into practice and that we will create a culture where every adult knows that they are responsible for the wellbeing every child.”   

 

ENDS

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

Categories: General.

 1 2 3 >  Last »