Tuesday 6 December 2016

Watch: No jail time for abuse is 'just a tap on the wrist'

Laura Larkin

Published 09/04/2016 | 02:30

A mother-of-four has said that a suspended sentence handed down to her uncle for abusing her when she was eight years old is a "tap on the wrist".

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Aimee Ford was in Dublin District Court yesterday when her uncle Damien Farrell (40) was given a three-year suspended sentence and no jail time for abusing her when she was eight and he was 16.

"I'm disappointed in our legal system because when you are abused like that as a child it takes so much from you ... it [the sentence] comes across as a tap on the wrist.

"I wouldn't even say it was a slap, it was just a tap," she added.

However, Ms Ford hopes that by speaking out she will encourage other abuse survivors to come forward and seek prosecutions.

"I have got closure from doing this," she said.

Damien Farrell
Damien Farrell

"I have been able to get up and tell my story and he has been put on the sex offenders list which is one of the big things that I wanted.

"I've got what I wanted; I've brought him to court. I did it because he has never been held accountable for what he did.

"I want to be able to tell my kids when they're older that mammy stood up for herself that this is not right and shouldn't have happened. I want to be able to say mammy was able to set this straight."

The abuse happened at her grandmother's house in north Dublin in 1992. After school Aimee would be minded by her grandmother.

Farrell, who was a teen at the time, would help his niece play video games in an upstairs room and it was here that the abuse took place.

He simulated sex with her on three occasions - once without his clothes on. "I didn't understand what was happening," she said.

Farrell was "like a brother" to her at the time, she said, and she didn't think that he would do anything to hurt her.

During the third instance of abuse her uncle made her remove her bottoms and he also removed his.

"I told him he was hurting me but he didn't stop," she said.

When the abuse finally emerged it "ripped her family apart" and has continued to cause a divide between the extended family.

In her victim impact statement Aimee said that she "was not a victim anymore".

"I'm coming out stronger," she said.

Irish Independent

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