Wednesday 18 September 2019

Girl said that 12 people sexually abused her in her own home

Serious issues: High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Picture: Frank McGrath
Serious issues: High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Picture: Frank McGrath

Tim Healy

A girl alleged to have been subject to "devastating" sexual abuse in her home by more than 12 local individuals before being taken into care in 2010 at the age of 10 has been made a ward of court.

The girl's court-appointed guardian has raised serious concerns about why the girl and her siblings were not taken into care earlier as social work services were familiar with the family before the girl was born.

When the case came before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, this week, he said it raised "serious" issues.

He made the girl, now aged 18, a ward of court and appointed the general solicitor for wards of court, Patricia Hickey, to represent her interests and vindicate her rights.

Professionals involved in the girl's care described her as an "incredibly vulnerable" young person who may be at risk sexually, socially and financially.

On foot of psychiatric reports that the girl lacked the necessary capacity to manage her affairs and finances, the judge took her into wardship. He also made orders continuing her placement in a residential facility and permitting Ms Hickey retain the services of her guardian, who has been involved since she was taken into care in 2010.

It is believed among the issues Ms Hickey will have to consider is whether to initiate legal action over delays in taking the girl into care.

After she was taken into care in 2010, the then 10-year-old girl named more than 12 individuals in her local area whom she alleged she had sexual intercourse with. She alleged those persons came to her home when her mother was present and she was abused in her bedroom. A younger brother also made disclosures of sexual abuse of him by family members. Both children were referred to a sexual abuse unit which assessed them and concluded their allegations were credible.

The girl's guardian has expressed the view, had the relevant authorities acted earlier on the concerns about the family, "much, if not all, of the abuse, neglect and trauma the girl has suffered could have been avoided".

Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the girl's mother and maternal grandfather relating to the time before she was taken into care.

The father left the home when the girl was aged four and concerns about the mother's ability to manage and safely parent the children continued and increased, she said.

Irish Independent

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