Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and An Garda Síochána have stepped up efforts to deal with any alleged abuse or sexual exploitation of children in the care system. The news follows various reports of abuse, including the Irish Examiner’s coverage of the ‘Grace’ case, where a woman with severe intellectual disabilities suffered sexual abuse in a foster home between the late 1980s and 2009.
A spokesperson from Tusla confirmed the establishment of the working group.
“Tusla can confirm that a sub-group of the Garda Síochána/Tusla strategic liaison committee has been established to review matters concerning alleged exploitation of children in care,” said the spokesperson.
“The subgroup is committed to reviewing current practice in this area and to develop joint working guidelines for staff from both organisations where there are concerns that children may be at risk of organised abuse or sexual exploitation. Terms of reference for the sub-group are being finalised currently.”
The press office of An Garda Síochána also confirmed the establishment of the group. “A sub-group of the Garda Síochána/Tusla strategic liaison committee has been established to review procedures and issues concerning alleged exploitation of children in care.
“The purpose of the sub-group is to look at all aspects of the exploitation of children in care to ensure that best practice and joint working is developed to respond adequately and promptly to such incidents,” said the Garda spokesperson.
“Any finding will be notified to senior management in both An Garda Síochána and Tusla.”
There are approximately 6,000 children in care in Ireland in 2016.
Irish Examiner, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, written by Joyce Fegan.