The ISPCC has expressed concern at a rise in reports of child abuse, as crime figures published by the Central Statistics Office today show an increase of 11 per cent in reports in the year to March 2021 compared with the year previous.
The organisation, which provides services to children, young people and families throughout Ireland, urged any individual with a concern in relation to the safety or welfare of a child to consider reporting this to Tusla or An Garda Síochána.
The Childline Listening Service also reminded all children, young people and families that it is there to listen 24 hours a day, every day, across online, text and phone service options. The service has answered over 1,900 online contacts, calls and texts from children and young people in relation to various forms of abuse in 2021 to date.
“A heinous crime”
ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “Any increase in reports of child abuse is a matter of concern to the ISPCC. Abuse of any nature is a heinous crime and it is vitally important that suspected cases are reported to the authorities, to help keep children safe.
“The year to March 2021 brought significant disruption to the lives of children and young people across Ireland. They were at a heightened level of risk during periods of Covid-19 restrictions, while separated from school, social activities, extended family members and other trusted adults who can play a pivotal role in their safeguarding. Domestic violence was an issue raised frequently by children and young people contacting Childline. Many may have encountered Adverse Childhood Experiences for the first time and we know that these can leave an impact which endures for life.
“The early detection of risk to a child or young person remains vital. It is imperative on us all to acknowledge that child protection is everyone’s responsibility. The ISPCC urges any individual with any concern regarding the safety or welfare of a child or young person to make these known to An Garda Síochána or to Tusla.
“Ireland has a bleak history in terms of listening to children and how it has treated those who have experienced this form of crime. Where children have the courage to speak out, they should be afforded the best and most efficient care pathway. The Government must show leadership in this area too. To help keep children and young people safe, the ISPCC continues to advocate for a National Strategy for Child Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation and Online Risks to Child Safety.”
The Childline Listening Service is always available to any child or young person in Ireland who would like to talk about any issue on their mind.
The service can be reached in the following ways:
Chat Online: Childline.ie
Call: 1800 66 66 66