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HSE staff visit victims after blunder

VICTIMS of sexual assault and rape have been visited in person to be told the forensic examination they endured after their ordeal is now in question.

Twenty-five people from the north-west, who attended the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at Letterkenny General Hospital in the past 18 months, received a forensic examination from the unregistered nurse.

Staff from the HSE and gardai visited the homes of the victims on Wednesday evening, director of nursing at Letterkenny General Hospital Dr Anne Flood confirmed yesterday.

"We have visited and spoken to the 25 victims independently and assured them that the care and treatment they received was competent and the nurse was fully qualified.

"However, due to the non-payment of registration fee, this person wasn't registered. We gave them contact numbers for counselling services," she said.

As soon as it became aware of the situation on Tuesday, the Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Service called in its three counsellors and volunteers to field calls from concerned clients.

"They all came back into the centre and stayed late into the night.

"We can envisage this going on for the next few days and into next week," she said.

Within hours of receiving the visit from the HSE, six victims, all female, of sexual assault had made contact with the crisis centre.

Irish Independent