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Sunday 17 December 2017

HSE admits failure on historic child abuse

Mark Hilliard and Sarah Stack

THE HSE last night admitted it failed to properly investigate historic reports of child abuse, after claims they were often placed at the "bottom of the pile".

It followed criticism that child protection officers were probing just 10pc of complaints from people who said they suffered abuse at an earlier stage in their lives.

Reacting to comments from support group One in Four, the HSE conceded it may not have investigated such cases as thoroughly as they needed to be.

"The HSE takes the matter of child protection and welfare and retrospective disclosures very seriously and works in line with the re-issued Children First: National Guidance 2011 (guidelines)," the health body said in a statement.

"Prior to the application of these new guidelines there may have been inconsistency of practice regarding retrospective reporting."

Maeve Lewis, chief executive of One in Four, rounded on the HSE saying it had failed to look into many of the cases it had referred to them.

"All our clients are people who are adults who were sexually abused in childhood so when we bring their concerns to HSE child protection services they tend to go to the bottom of the pile," she said.

"Just because somebody was abused 10 years ago or 20 years ago it does not mean that the offender is still not out there abusing other children."

Irish Independent

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