RCNI Recruitment – Communications & Information Coordinator

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI)

Communications & Information Coordinator

Job Description

RCNI is seeking to employ a Communications & Information Coordinator to manage information flow at all levels from public engagement on sexual violence prevention to connecting remote rape crisis workers with their community of peers nationwide.

RCNI is a small, dynamic and generally cheerful team working to support best practice and the prevention of sexual violence. We create space to reflect, innovate and develop strategies and tools towards those ends. We are owned and governed by member rape crisis centres and serve all survivors. Our engagement is from the frontline through to national government and whole of society.

Responsibilities:

Under the direction of the executive director

  • to ensure the effective flow of information across multiple levels with distinct information needs,
  • to streamline prioritised information,
  • to minimise duplication and overload,
  • to connect the community of remote workers and isolated survivors,
  • to enable good information sharing of RCNI information with all relevant parties from the government and funders through to the public.
  • Work with the team and stakeholders to assist in identifying, and facilitate generating and disseminating evolving data and information needs.
  • Represent RCNI as relevant, including at interagency fora
  • Manage public messaging
  • Maintain public platforms
  • Event (online) management
  • Manage Media and PR
  • Drafting statements and press releases
  • Other matters as directed.

Essential knowledge and skills:

  • Good Systems analysis
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Excellent team work
  • Self-starter
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Very good working knowledge of office, networking and communications platforms

Desirable

  • Feminist analysis of sexual violence
  • Media and public awareness experience
  • Relevant 3rd level qualification
  • Knowledge of the sector/issue
  • Social media and web maintenance skills.

Reporting to: Executive Director

Hours: Minimum 21hrs and negotiable.

Remuneration: Administrative Officer pay scale (12 pts from 29,742 to 56,415)

 

Terms of Contract: 1 year. Probation period 6 months. After 1 year the contract will be reviewed with a view to renewal in consideration of the ongoing Pandemic circumstances and the evaluated needs of the organisation as well as the securing of ongoing funding.  All posts are subject to funding.

 

Application process

Please note that given circumstances this is a rapid recruitment process. Candidates must be available to start immediately.

Please send your completed application questions (below) and CV to director@rcni.ie by midday Tuesday 7th April 2020 with the subject line ‘recruitment’.

Please answer these questions in less than 300 words each.

  1. Why do you feel you are suitable for this role with particular attention to the skills and competencies required of the role?
  1. How do you think you will contribute to and work with the existing team and our work?
  1. What do you understand by a feminist analysis of sexual violence and why do you think it is presumed to be important for this role?

Name and contact details (preferably phone) of 2 referees.

RCNI have reacted to Tusla Child Abuse Substantiation Practice (CASP)

RCNI have reacted to Tusla Child Abuse Substantiation Practice (CASP)

 

RCNI and Rape Crisis Centres working with survivors of sexual violence are keenly aware of both the positive potential and potential trauma of retrospective reporting and Tusla’s handling of same, for many survivors.

 

A move towards a standardised approach of handling reports is to be welcomed. However, we have reservations regarding this draft practice guide (CASP) as reported in the Irish Times today.

 

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director, said, ‘in four decades of working with survivors, the most important thing we have learnt, is that the more survivors trust us the more they will share with us their experience and information. This information is valuable in assisting us in protecting others.

 

We have now accumulated evidence that tells us that if we wish to maximise disclosures that help break the silences around sexual violence and protect children and communities, survivors must be treated with dignity and respect throughout any investigative or reporting process.

 

‘When survivors’ rights are honoured, more survivors tell. When survivors’ privacy is respected, more survivors come forward. When survivors’ dignity is prioritised, more survivors stay with the justice process.

 

‘RCNI’s message is simple, the more we earn survivors’ trust us, the better we will be able to effect safety for children, and Tusla’s CASP must reflect this approach.’

 

RCNI go on to call for a Victims’ Champion:

‘It is increasingly clear to advocates like ourselves who work with and advocate for survivors, that the voice of the victim needs to be given formal expression. We need all policy and practice across government to be victim-proofed and implementation of the robust rights victims now have under the law, monitored through a Victims’ Champion. We call on all parties and candidates to prioritise the establishment of a champion for Victims.’

 

For information:

Cliona Saidlear

087 2196447

 

End

RCNI responds as Minister releases report on Child Protection

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release

27th January 2020

 

RCNI responds as Minister releases report on Child Protection

 

RCNI strongly welcomes the Expert Assurance Group (EAG) Final Report for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (full title in notes below) on Tusla’s implementation of the HIQA 2018 report recommendations, which was released today, 27th January 2020.

One of the urgent matters identified in the HIQA 2018 report was the handling of child sexual violence allegations. RCNI share the concern that this is an urgent and grave matter, in ensuring effective child protection and the vindication of the rights and dignity of all adult survivors of childhood sexual violence, alongside others impacted by mandatory reporting.

In noting progress on these Minister Zappone informs us that, ‘a new operational policy, National Child Abuse Substantiation Procedures (CASP), has been finalised and training for its implementation is underway.’

Dr Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director responded, ‘RCNI has long been concerned with inconsistencies of practice across the country and the peripheral nature of survivors and their rights in this process. We, therefore, welcome a move towards a standardised approach.

‘RCNI, following considerable engagement with stakeholders on this process and the operational policy, CASP, is of the opinion that this policy must be victim proofed.

 

‘RCNI welcome Tusla’s assurance that consultation on CASP with stakeholders will be carried out in spring 2020. We expect that input and consequent amendments to the policy will be reflected in updates to the policy and the training on it, as Tusla informs us CASP is to be regarded as a living document.

‘We welcome the EAG recommendation that a national lead on the management of retrospective referrals should be appointed. We especially welcome the recommendation that the policy is reviewed after 12 months and regularly after that. However, we would caution that this cannot be an internal review and must involve all stakeholders. Given 90% of mandated reports involve concerns regarding sexual violence, this must engage with sexual violence support organisations and specialists to ensure that CASP gives due consideration to the rights and needs of adult complainants, especially vulnerable ones.

 

We welcome the EAG recommendation that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs continues its exploration of an enhanced role for the National Vetting Bureau in third party communications and RCNI will continue to collaborate with the Department and legislature on this question.’

END

For information or comment

Cliona Saidlear

087 2196447

Notes:

Full title of report: Final Report to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs of the Expert Assurance Group established to oversee and advise on the implementation of the recommendations of the Health Information and Quality Authority’s “Report of the investigation into the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against adults of concern by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) upon the direction of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs”.

Extract from Page 47 EAG Report published 27th January 2020:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3eeb15-final-report-of-the-expert-assurance-group-to-the-minister-for-child/

“The EAG welcomes the confirmation that the revised policy, National Child Abuse Substantiation Procedures (CASP), is now complete and an implementation plan begins with the roll out to retrospective referral teams this year. The EAG recommends that due to the complexity of CASP, a national lead is designated to the management of retrospective referrals and that the policy is reviewed after a year of implementation and at regular intervals after that.

Although not specifically discussed in the statutory investigation report, the EAG has offered some commentary on the legal framework for the management of retrospective allegations by Tusla when it comes to communicating a concern about a person to a third party. Overall, the EAG recommends that the Department continues its exploration of an enhanced role for the National Vetting Bureau”.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press release 24th October 2019 RCNI welcomes the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality report on the Reform of the Family Law System

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press release 24th October 2019 RCNI welcomes the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality report on the Reform of the Family Law System

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release 17th April 2019 RCNI welcome the new transformative categories in the CSO’s Garda Crime Statistics

Today’s Sexual Violence Garda Crime Statistics release from the Central Statistics Office are a significant improvement on previous releases and tells us so much more than previously.

These statistics give us a breakdown of victims by gender, age and time between sexual violence incidents and reporting.

For the first time we can see how sexual violence impacts in very gendered ways in our official crime statistics. This is a very significant step forward.

· Women accounted for 82% of all victims of reported sexual offences.

Recent incidents (within last year):

· 63% of all reports were reporting recent incidents in the past year.

· Women accounted for 89% of all victims of recent incidents.

· 58% of recent incidents for males related to child sexual violence.

Historic incidents (more than 1 year ago)

· A quarter of sexual offences reports date back from over 10 years ago.

· For historic incidents 83% related to offences against children (Under 18).

· Men were the victims in 31% of historic cases.

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI executive Director said, ‘RCNI strongly welcome that the official crime statistics for the first time lets us talk about gender in sexual violence victimisation. As sexual violence is highly gendered, with women and children being the majority of the victims and males accounting for the majority of perpetrators, it is vital we understand this if we are to work on successfully preventing sexual violence.

‘We can also now for the first time distinguish the current crimes from the crimes committed in the past and the length of the interval between the crime occurring and it being reported. This is vital, as sexual violence is different to most crimes in how and when people come forward and report. A quarter of sexual violence crime reported last year dates back to incidents more than 10 years ago, in contrast, for assaults and related offences, less than 1% relate to incidents more than a year old.

‘It is less than a year ago that RCNI and One in Four recommended these changes to the statistics and we are delighted that they have been made available this quickly. RCNI very much welcome the professional and thorough standard the CSO is bringing to the crime statistics and the work of An Garda Síochána to improve their data gathering dramatically.

‘These progressive commitments to data, evidence and transparency is a key indication that the government is moving to follow up its expressions of sympathy and outrage with a clear demonstration of their serious intent to address this deep rooted issue in a concerted and sustained manner.’

‘RCNI look forward to further developments in this vital area of making the facts about sexual violence visible.’

Notes

· Link to CSO crime stats release https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-rcv/recordedcrimevictims2018/

RCNI warn Oireachtas Committee that child abuse in the family remains hidden in our child protection and legal systems

Dr Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘RCNI today are calling for a commitment to a fit for purpose system to deal with child sexual violence in family law matters. A specialist court is needed to ensure the best child protection response.

‘For many child victims the family is not a safe place, it is the location of the harm. Because the criminal justice system largely fails these children, with between a 90% – 96% failure rate, the protection of these children often becomes the subject of the family law courts, both publicly and privately. Protecting children in these circumstances requires specialisation.

‘Today we are particularly drawing attention to familial sexual violence and incest. Our RCNI Rape Crisis data showed that in 62% of child sexual violence against children under 13, it was a family member who committed the crime. Of the 11,600 cases of guardianship, custody and access going through our civil courts every year we can expect that a significant proportion to involve the rape and the sexual abuse of children by family members in the absence of a parallel criminal conviction. We urgently need Courts Services to make public how many of their cases involve child sexual violence as a matter of justice and public interest.

‘The fact is our family courts are currently handling criminal matters of the most sensitive child protection nature in unknown numbers, without criminal authority, without the appropriate tools and with insufficient specialisation.’

RCNI are calling for a special family court, with tailored authority, where all actors would have domestic and sexual violence specialisation. This matter should form a key part of Ireland’s long overdue first National Strategy on Child Sexual Violence.

ENDS

Notes:
• There are 3,000 referrals of child sexual violence to Tusla every year,
• only 2% of those cases gain a conviction.
• the false allegation rate is only between 2% and 8%.
Reports in the past 12 months detailing the failures in the current system:
• Garda Inspectorate Report Responding to Child Sexual Abuse a follow up review (Dec 2017) http://www.gsinsp.ie/en/GSINSP/Responding%20to%20Child%20Sexual%20Abuse%20-%20A%20follow%20up%20review%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf/Files/Responding%20to%20Child%20Sexual%20Abuse%20-%20A%20follow%20up%20review%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf
• Geoffrey Shannon, 11th Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection
https://www.dcya.gov.ie/documents/child_welfare_protection/2018121811ReportSpecRappChildProtect.pdf
• Child Care Law Reporting Project Final Report CCLRP-Full-final-report_FINAL2 (1).pdf
• HIQA, Report of the investigation into the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against adults of concern by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) June 2018 https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2018-06/HIQA-Investigation-Executive-Summary.pdf
Recommended data that could and should be made regularly public:
• How many cases in front of civil family law courts include allegations of child sexual violence and domestic violence, including coercive control?
• A set of data points around the communications and interactions between the criminal and civil authorities in regard to those cases,
• Data points tracking people’s engagement in the system so that the multiplicity and length of these cases can be better understood,
• Data tracking how many children are bound by (directly, through their guardians or both) ‘non-disclosure’ or ‘confidentiality’ clauses on direction of the civil courts with regards potential future disclosures of criminal matters of sexual violence?

Concern as Tusla in the dark on whether it has conducted any joint interviews with Guards on Child sexual Violence

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release
Embargoed midnight 26th November 2018
Concern as Tusla in the dark on whether it has conducted any joint interviews with Guards on Child sexual Violence
RCNI call on Minister Zappone for clarity following her latest response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Clare Daly to assure us that Tusla the Child and Family Agency is in fact engaged in specialist child interviewing where there are concerns regarding child sexual violence.
Asked if Tusla could say how many specialist joint Tusla an Garda Siochana interviews of child abuse allegations they took part in in 2018, the Minister conveyed the Child and Family Agency’s response that ‘they do not collect the information’.
We are concerned at this absence of knowledge Tusla would appear to have of its own practices.
What we know from an earlier Ministerial written answer to Deputy Daly on the 13th of November is that there were currently 12 specialist interviewers in Tusla and she anticipated 29 to be fully trained and available by January 2019. In addition, the Minister announced the piloting of specialist child centres in 2019 to deliver a multiagency specialist response to children where there are concerns of sexual violence. These developments are to be welcomed. 
In terms of the handling of referrals, the Minister stated, on the 11th of October that ‘once a report of child sexual abuse has been screened by a duty social worker, a strategy meeting is held to decide which service is most suitable for the child. One of the available options is a Joint Specialist Interview with Gardaí taking the lead role.’ The Minister further states that these interviews are ‘integral’.
We assume that the voice of the child will be central and critical in almost all child sexual violence cases. Joint Specialist interviews, in most cases, will be the most appropriate and effective way to hear the voice of the child.
Tusla received 770 Child sexual abuse allegations in the first quarter of 2018 alone, (we can assume approx. 3,000 referrals per annum) yet hold no information on how many of these cases were treated as child protection matters with joint specialist interviews subsequently conducted. We have to ask the Minister to reassure us that potentially at risk children in Ireland today are being heard by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
 
Notes
Reference numbers for Parliamentary Questions referred to
21st November 48562/18
13th November 46602/18
11th October 41672/18

‘ONE HOUSE’ CHILD-CENTRED SPECIALIST CHILD-ABUSE RESPONSE TO OPEN IN 2019

RCNI welcome the launch today by Dr Katherine Zappone TD, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, in conjunction with the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan TD, of a pilot ‘One House’ centre for children who have been sexually abused.

RCNI commend the three Ministers for this initiative. The pilot, if successful, will address many of the current serious concerns we have for how the state is meeting the needs of children who experience sexual abuse.

RCNI Executive Director, Dr Clíona Saidléar said, ‘we can’t continue to fail children who experience child abuse, this pilot has the potential to deliver, for the first time dedicated wrap-around specialisation to this area of child protection. This is long overdue. We know from adult survivors of child sexual abuse that the process of reporting as children was often deeply traumatising, leaving them feeling disbelieved and isolated and with no follow up supports in place.

‘The standard aspired to, of joint interviewing and a co-ordinated approach between Tusla and the Gardaí to child abuse is, in many cases, simply not the reality faced by families engaging with the authorities to seek support and protection for their children. This pilot is a new approach based on well-established best international practice, which seeks to ensure the aspiration of a child-centred response where the child receives support not further trauma, becomes a reality.

In parallel with this initiative, RCNI support the Dept. of Justice and Equality’s work to develop the Bill to establish a Special Court to replace the poorly equipped Family Courts in this matter. We would also urge the Ministers to look at increased transparency and accountability at every stage of the process in the interest of the children, including the operation of the in camera rule.

RCNI press release – Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018

 
RCNI urges TDs to ensure survivors of rape are empowered in their decision making within the General Scheme of the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 debated at second stage in Dáil Éireann on Thursday October 4th
 
4th October 2018
 
RCNI call on legislators to ensure that the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Bill is survivor-centred. The Bill should provide for the voice of the patient in abortion care and that requirements should not impede access to health care for survivors of rape.
 
A rape survivor’s perception of their own wellbeing must inform access. 
 
It is proposed that a termination of pregnancy may be carried out where two medical practitioners certify that there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant person (Section 10). The certifying medical practitioners are currently not required to consult with the pregnant person on their own perception of the risks of harm.
 
Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, “Many of those accessing abortion care under Section 10 will be survivors of rape and/or people living in coercive relationships. Any over-medicalisation of the decision-making process has the potential to restrict access and distances a survivor of rape further from control over their own body. We would urge legislators to ensure that the opinion of the pregnant person is included throughout this legislation.”
 
Further Section 13 provides for terminations where a medical practitioner certifies that the pregnancy concerned has not exceeded 12 weeks since the patient’s last menstrual period. Following this certification, a mandatory 3 day waiting period is required before an abortion can be accessed.
 
“We believe this is an unnecessary barrier to medical care which will prolong the harm and suffering of the survivor,” Dr. Saidléar said. “We must ensure the least traumatic and most empowered pathway to care and therefore urge the removal of unnecessary barriers and delays in accessing Section 13. Survivor-centred legislation will ensure the greatest possible recovery for those pregnant following rape who decide on a termination.”