News / Blog

Constitutional Referendum on Children’s Rights

March 7, 2011

Reading through the new Programme for Government this morning I got bogged down in all the details of bank recapitalisation, fiscal policy and health service reform.  And then finally, on page eighteen, there it is: the commitment to hold a constitutional referendum on children’s rights based on the wording agreed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee.  Good news indeed. 

There is no time commitment, but I did hear Enda Kenny say during the election campaign that it could take place at the time of the presidential elections in November.  It is possible that by this time next year we could have in place a new constitutional framework to guide how we think about children and their needs. 

We might actually be on the cusp of a major cultural shift in our attitudes to children and in how we need to balance the rights of the family with those of children.  We might at last actually have a constitutional imperative to act on all the hundreds of recommendations that have been made over the years to improve the way children are treated and to make this a society where children are safe from harm.

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Categories: Prevention.

Child Protection:  Phoenix, programme for prevention of sexual abuse

March 4, 2011

All of the One in Four team members working on the sex offender programme attended the NOTA Ireland AGM last Friday.  National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) seeks to highlight innovative service provision in Ireland for children, young people and adults who sexually harm. 

The conference highlighted to me yet again the many gaps that exist in Ireland in the services and treatment provision for offenders in Ireland.  At the same time I was inspired by the focus too on best practice in the area, specifically: the need for community based treatment & monitoring, and the need for support for the family/significant other in supporting the offender in living in a safe way. 

With our aim of breaking the cycle of abuse and keeping children safe, One in Four has been working in the background for a number of years on offender treatment.  We’re now at a point where we can expand the service and continue to introduce best practice.  We’ve just settled this week on a name for the service: ‘Phoenix’, this name comes a number of months into the start of our new programme for the significant others of the offender. 

It’s tough work and we’re pleased that the importance and value of the approach we have implemented is starting to take hold.  Our aim is to continue to be innovative in our response to child protection, and to support and develop our work with evidence based research.



If you would like help more survivors of sexual abuse there are several ways to make a donation to One In Four:

You can provide One In Four with a regular and reliable doantion by contacting us at or call us up at (01) 662 4070
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Cheques can be made payable to One In Four Ireland and either posted or handed in to our office at 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2. There are envelopes available at reception.
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IBAN: IE21 BOFI 9014 9091 5014 67
Sort code: 90-14-90
Account no: 91501467



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Categories: Therapy.

Child Protection of School Children

March 3, 2011

I am delighted that Sheila Nunan of the Irish National Teachers Organisation has called on the new Government to establish an open forum to look at the issue of patronage of Irish primary schools.  Currently the local Bishop is Patron of almost ninety five per cent of schools.  This has implications for parents who do not want a Catholic education for their children and for teachers who do not want to teach religion.  But there is another aspect.  In the Louise O’Keefe case in 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that the local Bishop and the Board of Management are the employers of the teaching staff and are ultimately responsible for any sexual abuse carried out by teachers.  So, although the State lays down the requirements for teacher training and registration, employs inspectors to monitor the quality of teachers’ work, provides funding for the running costs of schools and pays teachers’ salaries, it is not their employer.  Only in Ireland... 

This leaves me with two questions.  Given what we know now about the Catholic Church and sexual abuse, is a Bishop the proper person to be responsible for child protection in schools?  And in the twenty first century, should not the State be ultimately responsible for all aspects of education, including the conduct of teachers?  Lets have that forum.

Maeve Lewis

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Categories: Prevention.

New Government

February 28, 2011

Walking to work this morning there was a definite spring-like feel to the city. And people seemed more cheerful too – because of the weather or the bloodletting of the elections? It looks like we have chosen a Fine Gael – Labour coalition Government. As I strolled along I was wondering what this is going to mean for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland. Hundreds of charities provide vital services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country. Like the other charities, One in Four provides professional services to people who desperately need them, and we do it on a shoestring. With more enormous cutbacks looming, will the new Government recognise and support the work we all do?

Maeve Lewis

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Categories: General.

Welcome to our New Blog Section

February 22, 2011

Welcome to our new blog.  We will be blogging to keep you informed on matters relating to:

  • Therapy
  • Advocacy
  • Prevention

The blogs will be written by a range of staff members and will cover facts, reflections, opinions and thoughts.  The aim is to provide an insight into the day to day running of One in Four, and the work that goes on around sexual violence and abuse.

We hope you'll come back regularly to have a read and leave a comment.

One in Four team

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Categories: General.

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