Written answers

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Sexual Abuse Services

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-South Leitrim, Independent)
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To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps being taken to implement the recommendations of the National Review of Sexual Abuse Services for Children and Young People; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11616/13]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The Ferns Inquiry Report was published in October 2005 and contained 20 separate recommendations. The then Government accepted all of the recommendations. Many of the recommendations related to the provision of services and accordingly, from a child welfare and protection perspective, were taken forward by the HSE given its statutory responsibilities in this area. In this context the HSE established five working groups to address the various recommendations made by the Inquiry team.

The Ferns 4 Working Group was established to examine the needs of children and young persons and their families who have been affected by sexual abuse. This working Group produced its report in 2009 and one of the key recommendations was the establishment of a National Steering Committee.

The Ferns 5 Working Group was tasked with advising the HSE on the strategic direction and level of need in the area of assessment and treatment for children, adolescents and adults who have exhibited sexually harmful behaviour. The Ferns 5 Working Party completed a report in 2007.

National Review of Sexual Abuse Services for Children and Young People.

In order to update the work of the Ferns 4 and Ferns 5 Working Groups the HSE in 2010 commissioned a National Review of Sexual Abuse Services for Children and Young People to include Forensic Examination services, Joint Interviewing, Assessment of Need and Therapeutic Services. This Review considered services across all four HSE Regions including the specialist services located at Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin and the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street. Mott McDonald Consultants were commissioned to carry out the review and completed the Report in June 2011.

Implementation process.

The HSE established the Ferns 4 Steering Committee and the Ferns 5 Steering Committee in 2011. The role of these Committees is to examine the assessment, therapy and counselling needs of children who have been sexually abused and their families, as well children and adults who have exhibited sexually harmful behaviour and to make recommendations concerning service requirements. The Committees are multidisciplinary and multiagency with representation from all sectors including Children and Family Services, Acute Services, an Garda Síochána, Probation Service, Psychology Service and the voluntary sector.

The Ferns 4 and Ferns 5 National Steering Committees are currently reviewing the recommendations of the Ferns 4 and Ferns 5 Reports as well as the recommendations of the National Review of Sexual Abuse Services for Children and Young People. The objective of the Committees is to develop national models of service which ensure that all available resources are effectively deployed within a national, standardised service providing ready access to assessment and treatment for children and families across the country.

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