Fianna Fáil has demanded an urgent statement from the Government on revelations of shocking gaps in the supports available to children who have suffered sexual abuse.
Reacting to reports on today’s Morning Ireland, the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy said he is appalled that any child who has been sexually abused would be forced to wait more than two years for counselling.
“Like most listeners this morning I was deeply disturbed to hear from a mother whose young boys are still waiting for help more than two years after taking the unimaginably difficult step of speaking about their abuse. These are two years that have been stolen from these children in terms of recovery and the ability to resume a normal childhood,” said Deputy Troy.
“It is inexcusable that the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, was today unable to answer any questions about how many other abused children are waiting for counselling and for how long. The Spokesperson could provide absolutely no clarity on the reality facing children who are confirmed victims of sexual abuse. As it stands, we now have no idea how many child victims of abuse are being denied vital counselling and we have no idea what resources are being directed towards this crucial frontline health service.
“We need to hear from the Minister for Children James Reilly as a matter of urgency. The Minister must immediately outline details of how many known underage victims of sexual abuse are currently on waiting lists for State support. He must explain what resources are currently allocated to services for abused children, what gaps there may be in these resources and what action the Government is taking to address these gaps.
“Two years is an extremely long time in the life of a young child. We cannot tolerate a situation where a child who is brave enough to speak out about abuse is then told that there is no immediate support available to them and they will just have to wait until they get the help that they need. The welfare of extremely vulnerable children must be an absolute priority for any Government. This takes more than just a referendum or promises of change. It must be backed up by frontline services for the children who desperately need help.”