ISPCC welcomes significant advance in provision of child protection services with announcement that ‘One House’ model will be implemented in Ireland in 2019
The ISPCC has welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone TD and Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan TD that a ‘One House’ co-location model of support for children and young people who experience sexual abuse will be implemented in Ireland, commencing on a pilot basis in Galway in the coming months.
The national child protection charity highlighted that the coming together of the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Health and Justice and Equality with Tusla, the Health Service Executive and An Garda Siochána in the ‘One House’ model represents a significant advance in the provision of support services to children and young people in Ireland who experience sexual abuse, who have been failed in the past.
ISPCC CEO John Church said: “The announcement that a pilot ‘One House’ centre will be operational in Ireland in the coming months is very welcome. It is imperative that the best possible, effective, treatment and support is immediately available to children and young people who experience sexual abuse. The support that children and young people who experience abuse of this nature receive in the immediate aftermath is crucial to how they can begin to recover from the trauma and abuse they have suffered. This appropriate level of support has not always been available to children and young people in Ireland and they have been failed in this regard.
“The co-location model, which reflects best practice already in place in other jurisdictions, will reduce the potential for further trauma and suffering for children and young people who experience sexual abuse, as it will remove the need for them to recount details of harrowing experiences to multiple service providers operating autonomously. It will also improve efficiencies in evidence gathering, which will play an important role in increasing levels of prosecution and conviction of those who commit child sexual abuse crimes.
“The importance of inter-agency work between Tusla and An Garda Siochána was strongly outlined in Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr. Geoffrey Shannon’s report on the use by members of An Garda Siochána of their emergency child protection powers granted under Section 12 of the Child Care Act. The report, which highlighted the experiences of children in families where Gardaí have had to intervene, led to Minister Zappone’s formulation of an action plan which included a proposal to address serious gaps in mutual understanding and practical co-operation among services operating at a local level. The co-location ‘One House’ model will deepen the understanding of professionals of the work of their counterparts in other agencies and thus increase efficiencies in the provision of support services to children and young people who experience sexual abuse.
“The ISPCC looks forward to the establishment of ‘One House’ centres in further locations across Ireland, on the successful completion of this pilot programme to be implemented in Galway in early 2019.”