October 1, 2015
Over the last few weeks our supporters have been sending in their words of support and encouragement to the women and men that visit One In Four.
Would you like to send your own supportive words? If so, please use the blank slip below and return to us at 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2, D02 FP40. Alternatively, you can e-mail us your address and we'll post you out a blank slip. If you would like to also include a donation we would be very grateful.
September 23, 2015
One in Four today welcomes the publication of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015.
The Bill is a wide ranging document which addresses many of the gaps and disparities which exist in the laws relating to sexual offences. There is much to commend in the Bill but there are also disappointments.
Executive Director Maeve Lewis says “This Bill attempts to address the scourge of online sexual exploitation of children and aims to protect children against grooming and online predators. It strengthens the law on the production and possession of images of child sexual abuse and introduces appropriately heavy penalties for these offences.”
The Bill also clarifies the law in relation to the age of consent. While the age of consent remains at 17 years, the Bill sensibly incorporates a provision recognising that younger teenagers may engage in consensual sexual activity and seeks not to criminalise people of the same age. However, a weakness in the Bill is that it does not define what actually constitutes “consent”.
“For the first time in Ireland it will become an offence to purchase sex and I welcome this warmly. I hope this may go some way to reducing the devastation caused by trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable women through prostitution”.
Maeve Lewis continues: “The Bill introduces for the first time some real protection for the disclosure of counselling notes during a criminal trial. An alleged abuser will no longer be able to seek disclosure as a fishing expedition in an attempt to discredit the alleged victim but will have to give clear reasons why counselling notes should be produced. I strongly believe that counselling notes should be totally excluded from a criminal trial, but nonetheless welcome this measure as a first step towards total privacy for counselling notes”.
“A major step forward is the prohibition on the cross examination of a person under 18 years by the accused person in a criminal trial. However it is imperative that this exclusion should be extended to all victims of sexual crime, as is the case in England and Wales. It is horrifying to think that a victim of sexual violence should be subjected to a verbal assault in court by the person who violated them in the first place. This must be changed.”
September 17, 2015
We're delighted to give you our Autumn 2015 newsletter below. If you would like to have these delivered directly to you in the future then please sign up with your postal address here.
September 16, 2015
An international conference focused on the treatment of sexually aggressive adults and adolescents will hear that developing a national research agenda is a key component in the prevention of sexual abuse. Among the key points raised will be the need for international standards for definitions of sexual abuse, the collection of detailed abuse-related data and agreed mechanisms to evaluate approaches to reducing abuse as part of this research.
The annual NOTA (National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers) International conference will be held in Dublin over the next three days from Wednesday 16th – Friday 18th September. NOTA is a charity and professional association which aims to protect children by improving practice and policy responses to sexual offenders of all ages. This is the second time this conference has been held in Dublin and will be attended by more than 300 professionals from the UK, Northern Ireland and the RoI who work with sexually aggressive individuals.
The requirements under the 2011 Sex Offenders Act differ for the 1,420 convicted sex offenders in Ireland;
Some will have been in custody but have no post release supervision requirements
Some will be subject to Probation Supervision upon release or part of a suspended sentence arrangement. This number currently stands at 200 and these 200 convicted offenders are managed under SORAM (Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management) and there are 28 multi-agency SORAM teams across the country. If at SORAM the offenders are considered to be low risk then they will be referred back for a single agency response (i.e. Probation or Gardai and or a support service)
Some will be subject to notification in accordance with legislation and will have an assigned Garda Case Manager in what is known as a single agency response
Adult offenders not subject to Probation Supervision may avail of therapy from private services and One in Four also provides a therapeutic programme for adults (The Phoenix Programme) who have sexually offended and not subject to Probation or supervision requirements.
Speaking in advance of the NOTA conference, Professor Simon Hackett, Durham Colleges, UK and Chair Elect, NOTA said “Sexual offending which includes such crimes as rape, paedophilia, sodomy, and sexual abuse (including on-line abuse) is a major public health issue and prevention and management is a collaborative process by all professionals working in the field.”
“Achieving a public health approach to sexual abuse prevention in every developed country is key. This needs to include the development of a national research agenda. This agenda should further include the development of international standards for definitions of sexual abuse and the collection of abuse related data. This will all enhance international comparisons and collaboration between non-governmental agencies and organisations. Creating a mechanism to evaluate approaches to reducing abuse and publicising these results is also paramount. In addition there is a need to educate the media to improve reporting on abuse, to integrate prevention into social and educational policies and to empower people to respond to all sexually problematic behaviours, not just major offences will also aid the public health approach to prevention.” continued Professor Hackett.
Speakers at the NOTA Conference will also look specifically at the management of adolescents that sexually offend. One agency that treats young people, male and female, between the ages of 13 and 18 years who have sexually abused and their parents/carers is NIAP (North Interagency Partnership) in Dublin which is funded by TUSLA (Child and Family Agency.) National and international research and crime statistics suggest one-fifth to two-thirds of sexual abuse is committed by children and young people.
Since its establishment in 1991, NIAP has worked with 267 young people who have sexually abused and with their parents/carers. NIAP works with approximately 40-50 young people in any one year. The majority of young people remain living in their family home but a small percentage live in foster care and or residential care, though not solely due to their inappropriate sexualised behaviour. In recent years the context of abuse by the young people attending NIAP was both intra-familial and extra-familial. For example in 2013, out of the 11 new referrals to NIAP, four were intra-familial and five were extra-familial. The data shows a higher representation of female victims under 10 years of age but does also include adult rapes and assaults.
Also speaking in advance of the NOTA conference, Joan Cherry, Director, NIAP said “NIAP works to assist young people who sexually abuse to control their abusive behaviour, to enable parents and carers to understand the dynamics of abuse and to support them in caring for their child, to protect the community from sexual abuse by these young people. NIAP also offers an advice, consultation and training service to other practitioners and managers in the field of adolescent sexual abuse.”
September 9, 2015
Suicide has affected the lives of many generating feelings of grief, anxiety and distress among a lot of communities in Ireland. Last week ‘Connecting for Life’, Ireland’s national strategy to reduce suicide (2015-2020) was released.
The Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny stated that suicide is ‘everybody’s concern’ and as a nation we must not only become mindful of ourselves but become mindful of those around us. Connecting for life is designed to combine the efforts of government departments, state agencies and local communities in suicide prevention.
It has been found that a variety of risk factors combined increase an individual’s vulnerability to suicidal behaviour. A review of Irish studies found specific risk factors for different populations vulnerable to suicide such as survivors of sexual abuse, young people and those suffering from mental health issues.
‘Connecting for Life’ aims to “reduce stigmatising attitudes to mental health and suicidal behaviour” as we as a nation continue to struggle to openly discuss these issues.
Research shows that those who have experienced childhood adversities such as sexual or mental abuse are more likely to experience mental health issues and suicidal behaviours. Therefore, this strategy was carefully developed to ensure individuals have easy access to a variety of ongoing support services that promote an ambition for recovery.
You can view the original report Connecting For Life here.
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