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.’
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:
“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”.