Quarter Of A Million Child Abuse Referrals Since 2011 – Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the numbers of children being referred to child protection services for abuse as horrific and deeply disturbing. Deputy McGrath was speaking after information he obtained through a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, revealed over 248 thousand referrals across all categories of abuse, including physical and sexual, during the period 2011-2016:

“These numbers are almost incomprehensible in terms of the scale of abuse that is occurring to children within Irish society.

The information provided to me shows that last year, thirty-six per cent of referrals were for emotional abuse, sixteen per cent for sexual abuse, twenty-three per cent for physical abuse and twenty-five per cent related to neglect.

This shows an increase in total referrals from 2011 to 2016 of 50%.

Of the quarter of a million referrals that have been made, over 110 thousand have been deemed of sufficient gravity and concern to warrant immediate child protection measures.

While I acknowledge the fact that Minister Zappone has secured additional funding for child services, the fact remains that we have an epidemic of child abuse in this state that is showing no signs of diminishing.

In point of fact, as the Minister’s reply makes clear, during the period under review it has increased by 50%.

Clearly the measures and policies that are in place are not working in terms of prevention. We need an urgent national dialogue on this matter.” Concluded Deputy McGrath.

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