May 2017 Comments

ANON May 31st, 2017 @ 04:34 PM

Minister Bruton announces appointments to Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund)

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., today announced appointments to the Board of Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) for 2017 – 2021.

Caranua is a Statutory Body with the structure and functions set out in the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, with a 9 member Board which must include 4 former residents.

The Board of Caranua oversees the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional child abuse.

These survivors have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent court awards.

The support to be provided will include a range of approved services, including health and personal social services, education and housing services.

To date €97.3m in cash contributions and associated interest have been received and the balance of the €110m is expected to be received by end 2018.

The Board members are appointed for a four year term of office, commencing on 24 May, 2017.

The positions are not remunerated.

The Board of Caranua will be composed of the following members:

Mr.David O’Callaghan - Chairperson

Ordinary Members (former residents of institutions)

Mrs.Frances Harrington, Mr.Thomas Cronin, Mr.Francis W. Treanor BL,
and Dr. Mary T. Lodato

Other Ordinary Members:

Mr.Damian Casey, Mr.Thomas Daly, Ms.Patricia Carey, Ms.Katherine Finn

Mr.David O’Callaghan, Mrs. Frances Harrington, Ms. Katherine Finn, Mr.Damian Casey and Mr.Thomas Daly have been re-appointed to the Board, all having served one term, or part thereof, on the previous Board.

The Minister welcomed the appointments and wished all members well in the in their important and challenging role

ANON May 31st, 2017 @ 12:46 PM

1/2...Child allegedly sexually abused was taken from filthy home…

‘She ate a lot, really fast as if starved’ court hears neighbour say of girl rescued by Garda

A child who was allegedly sexual abused by seven men was removed from her home after gardaí found it was filthy and her mother was “extremely drunk”.

Giving evidence in a childcare case at the District Court, reported by the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP), a garda said he had been to houses throughout his 11 years, but had never seen anything like the conditions at the child’s house.

He said there was smashed glass on the ground in the kitchen, dirty clothes strewn across the floor, the dishes were stockpiled in the sink and there was no heating.

The house was filthy throughout and the mother was falling from side to side and her speech was very slurred, the garda said.

A social worker who attended with the garda said the child’s bunk bed was “an oasis of calm”. The child had lined up her toys meticulously on her bed as well as her clothes, which she had washed herself.

The girl told the social worker her mother had gone to a friend’s house and had only returned the day before. While her mother was away, the child had been locked in on her own. It was December, and there was no heating.

A neighbour also gave evidence of taking the child out of the house and bringing her to her own home while her mother was away.

“She ate a lot, really fast as if starved,” the neighbour said.

The child was taken into emergency care and an application for a full care order was subsequently made.

The mother denied all of the allegations in the case.

ANON May 31st, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

2/2...Emergency care…

After the child was taken into care, she spoke of having been sexually abused and recounted her mother’s violence against her, including being pulled by the hair and beaten with a belt.

She told gardaí about incidences when her mother was drinking with a man and the man came up to her room.

Her mother was present on some occasions when the child was abused and sometimes removed her daughter’s clothes, the child said.

She also said she was abused by friends of her brother.

She gave gardaí the names and addresses of some of the men involved. She said on one occasion the man spoke to her in the kitchen afterwards.

“I think you know what happened last night, if you tell anyone I’m going to do something bad to you,” the child reported him saying.

She was interviewed in total for six hours by gardaí and videos of the interviews were shown in court. Some of the interviews were more than an hour long and the child became distressed on occasion, but the interview continued.

A clinical psychologist who reviewed the videos said it was concerning the first interview lasted over an hour and said a first interview should not run longer than 40 minutes.

“Very often this child is distressed, I would have expected the person observing to say ‘okay, I think that’s enough for now’ and plan the second interview,” he said.

Giving evidence, the garda child specialist interviewer said she was unaware of any proposal for the sexual abuse unit to be involved in the Garda interview process, and did not remember being asked to meet with them regarding input. When the case concluded, the District Court imposed restrictions on the republication of the report by the media.

However, following amendments to the report by the CCLRP, this restriction was lifted.

The project will publish its next volume of reports on child protection cases on June 12th.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:50 PM

1/4...Child protection failings: ‘It’s going to shock you beyond belief’…

Prof Shannon’s report details barbaric abuse of children by parents, writes Cormac O’Keeffe.

Children treated like “human trash”. Children subjected to “barbaric” treatment and “staggering” levels of trauma. Lives that have been left “shattered”.

It’s a story that has been told in this country before, many times. But this is not times past; this is now.

And it’s not at the hands of the Catholic Church it’s at the hands of parents.

Professor Geoffrey Shannon said this was an “unpalatable truth”, one that politicians and the media, in particular, appeared to be reluctant to name.

He was speaking at the launch of his report on the use of Garda emergency child protection powers, a report commissioned for An Garda Síochána.

In an unscripted and impassioned 40-minute address, he said “every parent” in the country should read chapter 3 of his 346-page report.

“It’s going to shock you, shock you beyond belief”, he said.

He said he and his team were “genuinely shocked that this was the Ireland of 2015/2016 and 2017”.

He said: “The trauma inflicted on children by their parents is just staggering.”

Prof Shannon said it was easy to blame state agencies, but stressed that parents had the first responsibility to care for their own children.

“Children are treated like human trash in some of these cases. I don’t use those words lightly.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:47 PM

2/4...The 91 narratives do no sugarcoat the barbaric treatment some children suffer.”

He said these cases raised wider issues, and that his report was “as much to do about Irish society” as it was about the workings or failures of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and An Garda Síochána.

He said the prevalence of domestic violence, not necessarily physical in nature, had “not abated” and that this should concern us.

But he spoke at length about the role of alcohol in his 91 cases.

“One of the biggest issues facing society is the adverse consequences for the welfare of many children posed by alcohol abuse.”

He said there was a persistent “ambivalence” of governments in this area.

“The failure on the part of society to comprehensively address the alcohol problem as a fundamental threat to the proper functioning of individuals and communities leaves the child protection system dealing with insurmountable problems.

“There’s a clear message for government: the government needs to step up to the plate in terms of taking on vested interests and saying ‘enough is enough’.”

Prof Shannon then turned his focus to what those agencies responsible for this area were doing. But he said he “felt compelled” firstly to respond to a statement issued by

Tusla before his report was launched.

It made a point to say that this was a report for the gardaí, that Tusla was “not involved in its production” and that its staff were not interviewed for it.

Prof Shannon said this had caused him “much distress” and said he had “extensive contact” with Tusla.

Tusla later clarified their position and apologised to Prof Shannon.
He said the point of the report was to examine how Gardaí were utilising emergency powers under Section 12 of the 1991 Child Care Act.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:45 PM

3/4...On the whole, he gave high praise to gardaí on the frontline. He said the “overwhelming finding” was that members committed great efforts to treating children “sensitively and compassionately”.

He said many members worked long beyond their rostered hours to organise care for a child. He said they demonstrated on the whole “a significant degree of critical sophistication” in exercising their power.

“In all cases examined gardaí demonstrated a restrained use of section 12 powers,” he said.

He added that he found “no evidence of racial profiling”, but qualified this to say that the Garda Pulse computer system did not routinely record ethnic data.

His finding stands starkly against that of former Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan who examined garda’s use of powers in the so-called Roma cases, concluding that they had used “racial profiling”.

He added. “In my view, and I say this without qualification, hundreds of children would go unprotected without the work of rank and file members of An Garda Síochána.

It’s very important to say this.”

Not that he did not have criticisms for the force, including the lack of training provided to Gardaí.

He said the “overwhelming majority” of current members had not received training on child protection.

“There is a deep-seated culture in An Garda Síochána privileging on-the-job training over, and often to the detriment of, formal core training.”

He also criticised Pulse, saying it did not provide “consistent and accurate” data on this area.

Moreover, he said that while the rhetoric of the force was the need for interagency work with Tusla, the reality fell “far short”.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:42 PM

4/4...He welcomed the establishment of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, which will have Tusla staff seconded to it. He also welcomed divisional units, three of which will start in the next fortnight.

This area was where the bulk of his concerns lay – the lack of interagency work with Tusla along with Tusla’s out of hours services and concerns he had regarding private foster care services.

“Very clearly, interagency cooperation at the moment is overwhelmingly inadequate in this area.

There is a problem with agencies operating in silos. That needs to be tackled.”

He said it was “essential” that the services share information and said that a “cultural shift” needs to happen and suggesting co- located services, like he had seen in the UK and New York.

He said there was “considerable criticism” from gardaí regarding Tusla’s emergency out of hours service.

He welcomed Tusla’s establishment in November 2015 of out of hours services for parts of the country but said he still had concerns.

He said vulnerable children using the out of hours service should not have an “inferior service” or “punished on the basis of geography”, in some cases having to travel “hundreds of miles” for an emergency foster care.

He said Tusla was “heavily reliant” on private foster care services.

He said there was a pattern of private foster care services “refusing” to take children with challenging behaviour.

“I found this absolutely scandalous,” he said.

He said Tusla should not be so reliant on private services and called for changes to legislation “removing any ambiguity” regarding the requirement to take such children.

He said his report was “a wake-up call for society”.

“These children do not need our sympathy they need our action.”

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:40 PM

Mother jailed for 20 years for drowning three children in Australian lake…

A woman who drowned three of her children and attempted to kill a fourth by driving the family car into an Australian lake has been sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison.

Akon Guode, 37, drove an SUV carrying four of her seven children into the lake in Melbourne in April 2015. Her five-year-old daughter Alual survived after passers-by pulled her from the partially submerged car.

But Guode's 16-month-old son Bol and four-year-old twins, Hanger and her brother Madit, died.

Victoria State Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said he would have sentenced Guode to life in prison if she had not pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder.

"People don't understand why you did what you did," the judge told her.

"In my opinion, your actions were the product of extreme desperation."

Guode wept and wailed throughout her sentencing hearing as the judge outlined her crimes and her troubled life that led to it.

Born one of 16 children in 1979, she fled Sudan's civil war in which her husband died, arriving in Australia as a refugee in 2006.

The judge set a non-parole period of 20 years and said she is likely to be deported on release.

Her hometown, the city of Wau, is now in South Sudan, which became an independent country in 2011.

It was not clear to which country she will be deported.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:37 PM

1/2...Child protection failings: Fears for safety of children in their homes…

The Government is to review all emergency out-of-hours services for children amid persistent fears that large swathes of the country don’t have the supports to protect minors from “barbaric treatment” in the home.

The country’s Ombudsman for Children said the solution had to be “pushed from the top”, while children’s rights groups called for a Government task force to overhaul existing services.

The moves follow the publication of a damning report by Professor Geoffrey Shannon. Publishing his 346-page audit, he said:

:: Co-operation between the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and An Garda Síochána was “overwhelmingly inadequate” in this area;

:: The agencies operated in “silos” and a “cultural shift” was needed;

:: Vulnerable children were getting an “inferior service” by having to use the Tusla’s out-of-hours service and were being “punished on the basis of geography”;

:: Tusla should not be so reliant on private foster care services in these situations;

:: It was “absolutely scandalous” that these private services were refusing to take children with challenging behaviours and legislation should be amended to address this.

Professor Shannon suggested multi-disciplinary teams, which would result in “less system-inflicted trauma, better decisions for children, more appropriate intervention and more efficient use of resources”.

He said the report, described as the largest audit ever conducted on police use of emergency protection powers, should serve as a “wake-up call” for society.

He said his research, including an examination of 91 cases, highlighted what he called an “unpalatable truth” regarding the behaviour of parents.

He said parents in some of these cases treated their children “like human trash” and subjected them “barbaric treatment”.

Prof Shannon said: “The trauma inflicted on children by their parents is just staggering.”

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:34 PM

2/2...The child care expert said alcohol abuse was a common theme in the 91 cases.
He said successive governments had failed to treat alcohol abuse as a “fundamental threat” which had left the child protection system dealing with “insurmountable problems”.

He said: “There’s a clear message for government: the government needs to step up to the plate in terms of taking on vested interests and saying ‘enough is enough’.”

While criticising cooperation between the Garda Síochána and Tusla, Prof Shannon praised frontline gardaí in making decisions on invoking emergency powers and removing children from danger.

He said that in all cases he examined gardaí demonstrated a “restrained use” of powers under Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991. He said there was “no evidence” of racial profiling.

He criticised a “deep-seated culture” in the force of not providing child protection training to Gardaí but acknowledged ongoing moves, including the establishment of the National Protective Services Bureau and pilot divisional units, which will have Tusla social workers seconded to it.

He welcomed Tusla’s establishment of a national out of hours service in November 2015 but said he still had concerns about the level of care nationwide.

He said vulnerable children having to use this system should not have an “inferior service” or be “punished on the basis of geography”.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said the service had “significantly expanded” with “full national cover”, which comprised out of hours social workers in Dublin, Cork city, Kildare and Wicklow with specialists “on call to deal with queries from gardaí” in other areas.

But a spokesperson for the minister confirmed last night that Ms Zappone “has asked Tusla to look at the demand outside the four areas” and that these other areas “will be reviewed on that basis”.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:32 PM

1/2...Children 'treated as human trash' let down by both Tusla and Gardaí…

Tusla social workers are being seconded to a special Garda child protection unit in a bid to address damning criticism of a lack of co-operation between the child and family agency and Gardaí.

A report by the Government's Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, found major shortcomings in the approach to safeguarding vulnerable children by both agencies.

It found continually poor and limited levels of inter-agency co-operation and co-ordination between An Garda Síochána, Tusla and other agencies.

Because of this, children were "slipping through the net", he said. In some cases, children who were removed from their homes by Gardaí for their own safety were subsequently returned there by Tusla.

Gardaí complained of not being informed of the outcome of cases after handing children into Tusla's care.

Responding to the report, Detective Superintendent Declan Daly of the Garda National Protection Services said a process had already begun of having Tusla staff seconded to a national child protection unit.

The report also outlined major frustrations Gardaí have with gaps in out-of-hours social services. It recommended the development "as a matter of priority" of a social work service directly accessible to children or families outside of office hours.

The report examined 5,400 cases from 2014 and 2015 where Gardaí used their powers under section 12 of the Child Care Act to remove children from their homes.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:29 PM

2/2...Gardaí can do this where they have a suspicion or concern a child is being abused, neglected, emotionally abused, sexually abused, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They can also intervene where there is a mental health issue with the child or their parents, or the parents are using substances leading to abuse or neglect.

Dr Shannon said some of the cases Gardaí encountered were "shocking beyond belief", with children being "treated as human trash" by parents or guardians. "These children do not need our sympathy. They need action," he said.

Dr Shannon said the most frequent reason for Gardaí having to intervene was the failure of parents. "This audit shines a light on a truth the Irish public is uncomfortable with. Parents can fail their children," he said.

He also highlighted how alcohol and substance abuse were major factors in many cases, and urged the Government "to take on vested interests" in relation to alcohol.

While praising the work of Gardaí, the report found a number of issues of concern, the most serious of which was a lack of inter-agency co-operation.

It said there were inadequacies in the operation of the Garda Pulse system, with numerous gaps and flaws in the data captured.

The report was also critical of the fact there was little or no emphasis on formal training of new Garda recruits in relation to child protection.

It was compiled at the request of Garda bosses following concerns about the removal by Gardaí of two Roma children from their homes in 2013.

A previous report by then Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan found ethnic profiling played a role in their removal.

But Dr Shannon's report found no evidence that racial profiling influences the exercise of section 12 powers.

ANON May 30th, 2017 @ 07:25 PM

Government confirms inquiry into Kenneally case…

The Government is to set up a Commission of Investigation into matters surrounding convicted child abuser Bill Kenneally.

The former national basketball coach is serving a 14-year sentence for abusing ten teenage boys in Waterford in the 1980s.

The 67-year-old was sentenced last year after he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Five of his victims went public on RTÉ's Prime Time last year and say a full inquiry is needed to uncover who knew what and when.

The Cabinet has agreed that a Commission of Investigation will be set up will be led by retired Circuit Court Judge Barry Hickson.

The inquiry will not begin its work until a number of outstanding legal matters - including more complaints against Kenneally are concluded.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, who previously met the victims, had said any inquiry would look at the handling of the case by State agencies, including An Garda Síochána, as well as the role of Church and other figures.

The move has been welcomed by the victims of the abuse carried out by Kenneally

ANON May 27th, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

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ANON May 25th, 2017 @ 06:37 PM

Saltney child rapist Michael Leaberry jailed for 12 years…

A Flintshire man who went on the run after raping a young child has been jailed for 12 years.

Michael Leaberry, of Saltney, eluded police for almost 18 months after his initial arrest for the offence in September 2015.

He was jailed for 12 years at Mold Crown Court on Thursday after admitting rape, sexual assault and incitement.

The child's mother said Leaberry had left a "trail of devastation".

Leaberry also known as Stephen Bugman failed to turn up for further questioning after being bailed by police in 2015.

He was eventually arrested in Bournemouth in February after a tip-off from a member of the public following a Crimewatch appeal.

He had been living under a false name and claimed to be a victim of modern slavery.

Mark Connor, defending, said Leaberry had "deepest sorrow" for what he had done and had been abused as a child himself.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said: "How anyone could view a child this young as a sexual object is quite shocking." 25 May 07

ANON May 25th, 2017 @ 06:26 PM

TV weatherman Fred Talbot guilty of sex offences against boys…

Several witnesses told of incidents during camping trips, when they would wake up to find Talbot inside their tents.

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been convicted of a string of historical sex offences against boys during school trips.

The 67-year-old was found guilty of indecently assaulting seven teenage boys during camping and boating excursions while he was a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area in the 1970s and 1980s.

Talbot, of Greater Manchester, had denied the allegations, but was convicted of seven of nine charges following a trial at Lanark Sheriff Court.

The two charges he was cleared of were one of indecent assault and one of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices.

The offences were against boys aged 15 to 17, and happened during separate trips to Scotland - one near the St Mary's Loch area in Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, and the other at the Caledonian Canal in Inverness in the Highlands.

Among the witnesses who gave evidence to the trial was Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, who was not an alleged victim but was one of Talbot's pupils.

The 54-year-old said he never forgot the moment the teacher invited one of his friends to sleep in his tent during a school trip.

Brown said Talbot would personally select students to go on his excursions.

During the trial, victims recalled the "horror" of being "singled out".

Several witnesses told of incidents during camping trips, when they would wake up in the middle of the night to find Talbot inside their tents, touching them.

According to them, Talbot stood out as different from other teachers, and would talk to his pupils about topics such as pop music, alcohol and sex.

The jury took four hours over two days to consider their verdict.

Thursday's conviction comes as the former TV personality was already serving a five-year jail sentence for indecently assaulting two school boys during school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid-1970s.

He is due to be sentenced on 15 June. 25-05-2017

ANON May 25th, 2017 @ 06:23 PM

Former DJ Jonathan King charged with 18 sex offences…

The boys were aged between 14 and 16 at the time of the alleged offences in the 1970s and 1980s, police said.

Former DJ Jonathan King has been charged with 18 sexual offences allegedly carried out against boys between 1970 and 1986.

The boys were aged between 14 and 16 at the time of the alleged attacks, police said.

The 72-year-old has been released on bail by Surrey Police, to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 26 June.

The charges are part of Operation Ravine, which Surrey Police launched in 2015 following a review by Merseyside Police into an earlier investigation, Operation Arundel, which dated back to 2000.

A Surrey Police spokesman said: "The independent review was commissioned in January 2014 to ensure all lines of inquiry had been identified.

"A number of actions have subsequently been progressed under Operation Ravine, leading to new allegations of sexual offences being identified." 25-05-2017

ANON May 20th, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

Aaron Hughes given further life sentence for rape…

A serial child rapist from Cardiff has been given a further life sentence for rape.

Aaron Hughes, 35, was jailed for life in 2014 for drugging and raping a sleeping three-year-old.

While in prison, Hughes was charged with 10 sexual offences against three teenage boys and pleaded guilty to some of the charges at Newport Crown Court.

On Friday, a minimum tariff of 11 years was imposed, to run concurrently to his existing sentence.

At a previous hearing in April, Hughes pleaded guilty to one charge of rape he carried out in 2008.

He also admitted three charges of sexual activity against two 13-year-old boys and one charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, which were all committed in 2004.

'Victims' courage'

Prosecutors did not seek a trial on five further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Following the sentencing, South Wales Police Det Insp Stuart Wales said: "We would like to thank the many witnesses who supported this investigation and pay tribute to the three complainants who each demonstrated significant fortitude and courage throughout."

In 2014, Cardiff Crown Court heard Hughes had been given the three-year-old child by babysitter Claire Semmens, who herself was jailed for 16 years after admitting two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing indecent images.

He was caught when police did a routine check on his computer because they believed he had breached a court order by downloading indecent images of children.

He was jailed for life for sex attacks on the toddler.

ANON May 19th, 2017 @ 08:47 PM

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ANON May 17th, 2017 @ 11:24 AM

Methodist minister John Price found guilty of abusing boys under hypnosis…

A retired Methodist minister has been found guilty of indecently assaulting four boys he had tried to hypnotise.

John Price, 82, from North Yorkshire, tried to put the boys into a trance before molesting them when he worked in York and Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

He denied all 13 counts of indecent assault on the boys, then aged between 11 and 17, from the 1970s and 80s.

Price, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, is due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on 13 June.

Judge Howard Crowson remanded him in custody and said prison was "inevitable" but he first wanted to learn more about the state of Price's health.

He said the medical evidence would only affect the length of the term, if it did at all.

The once-respected church leader was convicted of a similar offence in 1999 and was prevented from using his title of reverend.

The trial heard he attacked two youths while he was at York Methodist Church, and the other two while he was a minister in Pocklington.

Jurors were told the children were offered hypnosis to help with stress and pain before being assaulted.

Price sometimes used a blanket, or cloak, as part of his technique, while telling one boy to hold a 50p piece until he dropped it, believing then his victim was in a trance.

The victims said they were not hypnotised but immobilized with shock at the minister's actions, the jury heard.

One of the boys was told not to be "silly" and the matter was brushed aside when he complained to a senior church figure, who has since died.

Price told the jury he had done nothing to be ashamed of and had said he did not know how to hypnotise anybody.

ANON May 17th, 2017 @ 11:22 AM

1/2...4,000 child abuses reported last year…

There were more than 180 disclosures of physical and sexual abuse of children and 18 cases of child abduction reported to Women’s Aid last year.

The agency said more than 3,500 cases of emotional abuse of children were disclosed to them in 2016.

Children were slapped, punched, shouted at, called names, and even told they would be killed alongside their mothers.

They also witnessed appalling violence, including their mothers being beaten or even raped.

The findings are contained in the ‘Women’s Aid Impact Report 2016’, being launched today by Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone.

Of the 3,823 disclosures of child abuse:

:: 3,558 were of emotional abuse;

:: 136 of physical abuse; and

:: 47 cases of sexual abuse.

The report said there were “strong links” between child abuse and domestic violence and called for greater recognition of the risk to children, particularly during access arrangements.

It documented 82 disclosures of where children were abused during access visits.

“Domestic violence continues to be a very common context in which children experience abuse, with the abuser of the mother being the abuser of the children,” said the report.

“It has also been found that the more severe the domestic violence, the more severe the abuse of children.”

It said children were also witnessing violence perpetrated on their mother.

ANON May 17th, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

2/2...“Many children have witnessed their mother being shouted at, threatened, physically assaulted and at times have seen their mother being raped,” said the report.

“Where they have not directly seen the abuse occurring, they may have overheard abusive incidents, or seen the aftermath of it such as bruises, broken bones, damaged furniture and belongings.”

The report said they received almost 17,000 disclosures of domestic violence against women in 2016.

This included more than 11,000 cases of emotional abuse, 3,500 cases of physical abuse, almost 700 cases of sexual abuse, and 1,670 cases of financial abuse.

The figures follow revelations that the Central Statistics Office could not stand over garda domestic violence figures after conducting an analysis covering six years.

As reported in the Irish Examiner at the weekend, the CSO found the Garda data was “not sufficiently robust” to be published.

It said that until measures were taken by Garda HQ it would not be in a position to publish them.

Commenting, Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said: “In 2014, the Garda Inspectorate report identified domestic violence as a high volume crime and it is clear that it has been under-recorded for many years.

“There is a growing recognition that previous data collection systems are not fit for purpose and it is vital that this work is properly resourced so that we have robust, accurate and useful data on domestic violence in Ireland.”

ANON May 13th, 2017 @ 09:02 PM

Christian Brothers agree to transfer lands worth €100m…

The Christian Brothers have told the Department of Education they are prepared to transfer school lands worth approximately €100 million under conditions that the order has resisted up to now.

The school lands, which are associated playing fields, are to be transferred to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. Half the proceeds from any future sales of these lands would go to the State.*

The issue that was holding up a deal until now was how the proceeds of future sales would be treated.

The Brothers have written to Minister for Education Richard Bruton asking that he consider, in the event of any future sales, that the proceeds recouped by the department would go towards the needs of future generations of children, in education or otherwise.

However, they say the decision would be entirely at the discretion of the Minister.

The development comes in the wake of a report in March from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office (C&AG) which said the Brothers had, in 2015, “withdrawn” their proposal for the transfer of the lands because they could not agree to the terms being sought by the department.

The C&AG’s report, which concerned the €1.5 billion redress scheme, led to sharp criticism of the Brothers and other religious orders.

It revealed the congregations, as of the end of 2015, had contributed only €192 million towards the cost of the scheme.

At the time, Mr Bruton said he found the situation in relation to the contributions from the religious groups “hugely disappointing and massively frustrating”, with “one substantial offer having been withdrawn”.

It is understood that, in the period since March, the brothers reflected further on how they could reach an agreement with the State.

This led to a change of position which has now been communicated to the department. It is thought a deal is now likely to be agreed.

The proposal is very similar to one made to the congregation by the department in 2013 but which the Brothers found unacceptable at the time.

*This article was amended on May 13th, 2017

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:29 PM

1/2...Abuse accused monk eligible for extradition from Australia…

A former Catholic monk accused of abusing boys at a Highlands boarding school is eligible for extradition, according to a magistrate in Australia.

The decision on whether to send Father Denis Chrysostom Alexander back to Scotland for trial now rests with Australia's attorney general.

Fr Alexander denies the claims relating to the Fort Augustus Abbey school.

He was returned to Australia by the Catholic Church in 1979 after abuse allegations first surfaced.

He continued working as a priest for at least 20 more years.

Four years ago, BBC Scotland confronted him at his home in the Sydney suburb of Campsie as part of a documentary into alleged abuse by monks at the school, which prompted a major police investigation.

He was stripped of his priestly faculties shortly afterwards.

Appearing at the extradition hearing in Sydney, Fr Alexander wore a green prison uniform and was using a wheelchair.

He did not speak during the 30-minute hearing, where he appeared frail and detached from the proceedings.

He was arrested earlier this year and has always denied allegations of sexual abuse at the former Fort Augustus school, dating back to the 1970s.

He was refused bail and remanded back into custody in the hospital wing of Long Bay jail in Sydney.

His lawyer refused to comment on his medical condition, although a previous court hearing was told he was suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:27 PM

2/2..Judicial review….

At the hearing, the defence raised no objections to the Sydney magistrate's ruling due to technical reasons.

A challenge can be made in court if an individual's extradition is sought for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing them on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion, or political opinions none of which apply in this case.

Fr Alexander's barrister, Houda Younan, said there was limited scope to argue against an extradition before a magistrate, so instead she would focus her efforts in submissions to Senator George Brandis, Australia's chief law officer.

He will decide if the former Catholic monk will be handed over to British authorities, although the defence can seek a judicial review if the decision goes against the former priest.

Ms Younan told the BBC that those documents could be lodged in a month's time.

The attorney general's department has stated that Australia's extradition laws ensure that "criminals cannot evade justice simply by crossing borders" and prevents "Australia from becoming a refuge and safe haven for persons accused of serious crimes in other countries".

Fr Alexander appears ready to fight attempts to send him half way around the world to face his accusers in Scotland.

While a magistrate has ruled he is eligible for extradition, this case is far from over, and many months of legal wrangling almost certainly lie ahead.

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:25 PM

Vulnerable lives: five children who died while in contact with social services.

Case reviews flag missed opportunities, poor practice and pressure on social workers

These case histories are drawn from reports published online by the National Review Panel, an independent group of professionals which report to the Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Names of the children and their families have been changed to protect their identities.

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:23 PM

Harry (7 months)...

Cause of death: sudden infant death

Harry’s mother was allegedly a victim of domestic violence from her partner. This included an assault on the day prior to the boy’s birth.

Following an investigation by social workers, his case was designated as “welfare” and not a high risk.

Harry’s family was referred to a community agency for assessment. However, it was unable to undertake an assessment without the consent of the boy’s father.

His mother said she was unwilling to share his contact details for fear of reprisals.

Shortly after, the public health nurse had difficulty contacting his mother and became aware that she had suffered an injury and had been evicted.

She was later found to be staying with family members at the time of Harry’s death.

The review found the response to concerns about Harry and his family was slow and highlighted poor communication between social workers and the public health nurses.

While it did not find any connection between his death and any inaction on the part of Tusla, it found that the designation of “welfare” in this case had implications for the way that the case was managed.

The review panel’s report recommends a better response to domestic violence issues and the need to improve communication between different agencies,

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:21 PM

Avril (17)...

Cause of death: accident/misadventure

Her family background was characterised by domestic violence, criminality and changes of accommodation. Avril’s mother was a victim of domestic violence and found it difficult to manage her children.

An assessment at the age of 11 found Avril to be unhappy, out of touch with her emotions and lacking confidence.

While staff at a youth service project believed “increased statutory involvement” was required for the family, in fact her case was closed the following year.

She also ceased attending the youth service around this time.

The review notes that Avril displayed a lot of resistance to social work involvement and could be aggressive with social work staff.

There was intermittent contact between her and social services until her death at 17 year of age.

While it was suspected that she took her own life, a coroner delivered a verdict of death by misadventure.

The review did not find evidence that inaction of social work services was linked in any way to Avril’s death.

However, the review also found that opportunities to intervene when Avril was younger were missed.

It also found the rationale for closing the case overlooked Avril’s significant vulnerabilities.

ANON May 11th, 2017 @ 03:18 PM

Tim (15)...

Cause of death: suicide
Tim, described as a talented young man who was easygoing, upbeat and a bit stubborn at times, spent most of his childhood in his father’s care.

His mother had a drug problem which was ongoing for a number of years.

Although Tim had been a placid child, his behaviour became very challenging in his early teens and wanted to live with his mother.