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.’