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Thursday 21 August 2014

Dismay for young rape victim at refusal to prosecute

Ralph Riegel

Published 10/01/2014 | 02:30

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Emily Logan, the Ombudsman for Children, was scathing about the case last year
Emily Logan, the Ombudsman for Children, was scathing about the case last year

THE mother of a teenage rape victim has expressed outrage at discovering from a third party that her daughter's alleged attacker will not be prosecuted.

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The mother and daughter were at the centre of a hard-hitting Ombudsman for Children (OFC) report last year that criticised the HSE for its handling of an abuse case involving the girl, who was aged 10 at the time of the offence.

The girl had complained of being raped at knifepoint by a middle-aged neighbour.

Earlier this week, the woman's solicitor received a letter from a garda superintendent confirming that the DPP had directed no prosecution should be taken.

She told the Irish Independent that, despite all they have gone through, they were devastated to have learned of the decision first from a third party.

The parent also said she believed gardai should have contacted her directly, rather than her solicitor.

"It is like a never-ending nightmare for us. I am so, so angry. They wonder why victims are so reluctant to come forward and report abuse. This is exactly why," the distraught mother said.

"After all we have been through, we didn't even receive a phone call to say that there wouldn't be a prosecution or an explanation as to why not."

The girl, who is now 18, said she feels betrayed by the agencies that were supposed to have protected her.

"I think the way I have been treated ... is almost worse than the abuse. I'm so angry I could cry," she said.

"Not being believed was the worst of all... it was almost worse than the abuse.

"I want an apology. After what the Ombudsman found I want someone to say 'sorry' for how I was treated and for what happened."

The girl and her mother will meet with the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) officials in two weeks to discuss the case.

The decision not to prosecute came just three months after the OFC was scathing of how the girl and her mother were treated by the HSE.

SHOCKINGLY

That report warned the HSE handling of the complaint had "adversely affected the child" and left the victim with little or no trust in state services

The review concluded that the HSE did not consider the best interests of the child and shockingly contributed to "a lack of trust felt by the child in the HSE".

The mother and child fear that the handling of the case by state agencies was instrumental in the DPP opting not to sanction any prosecution against the man involved.

The mother said: "We thought that these services were there to help and support us."

Irish Independent

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