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[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Other questions - Child abuse [18228/11]. (12 Jul 2011)

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26. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her policy on mandatory reporting of child abuse, wilful neglect and physical or emotional abuse; her plans to introduce legislation for mandatory reporting of suspected abuse. [18228/11]

......Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: On reading the Children First guidelines and compliance, it is clear there is a reporting requirement in the guidelines. The legislation will reflect that. Professionals mentioned will be under an obligation to report, as they are at present, and that will be reflected in legislation.

Regarding Deputy Boyd Barrett’s question on neglect, it is important to highlight that area. This is a serious issue and child abuse by neglect or omission is a serious aspect of it. It is the largest and fastest-growing area where children suffer. This is particularly true with drugs and alcohol issues in young families. Children under five years of age are placed in untenable circumstances and are increasingly being brought to the attention of the authorities. The range of services outlined is important in ensuring children reach their full potential. It is clearly a question of resources and ensuring that those resources are available so children with a range of issues reach their potential. In terms of reporting, neglect is one of these areas. We saw that in the Roscommon report and it needs to get more attention. It has not received the kind of attention and reporting it needs. The HSE has the authority to intervene in familial and extra-familial cases.
Regarding Deputy Ó Caoláin’s question on soft information, progress has been made and the heads of the Bill will be published. Deputy Shatter and I have been working on it and progress has been made. We expect the legislation this year. I support the point made by Deputy Buttimer regarding agencies working well together. That is why the legislation I will introduce is not simply about reporting but about reflecting the contents of the Children First document. Agencies must work well together and there must be inter-agency co-operation......
Other Questions - Child Abuse
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 737 No. 6

[For the full debate please click on this link to the Oireachtas website]

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