Press Release

Government will conduct a national review of compliance with the Children First guidelines

Government will conduct a national review of compliance with the Children First guidelines and launch a nationwide awareness campaign on child sexual abuse Launch of One In Four Annual Report, Holles Street, Dublin

“The Government is appalled, shocked and dismayed at the extent of the allegations of abuse outlined in the Ferns Report” stated Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Children. “I would like to express my sympathy to the members of One In Four and others who experienced abuse as children” he continued.

“The Government’s duty is to ensure that proper child protection practices are in place and in operation and to that effect I am pleased to announce that a national review of compliance with the Children First guidelines by State bodies and NGOs will be driven by the National Children’s Office, in partnership with all relevant Government Departments. The Children First Guidelines were published in 1999 and in light of recent events, it is essential that the Government can stand over its own procedures in protecting children” declared Minister Lenihan.

“I am also requesting the Health Service Executive to launch a nationwide publicity and awareness campaign on child sexual abuse. The National Children’s Office will assist the HSE in ensuring that the campaign effectively targets, and is relevant to children and young people” continued the Minister for Children.

“I have written to the Bishop’s Conference seeking confirmation both collectively and individually, that the recommendations of the Ferns Report will be implemented. I have also asked them to confirm that the Framework Guidelines are in place in all dioceses. I have requested the HSE to make contact with the individual bishops in the Catholic Church as a matter of urgency to monitor child protection practices and ensure compliance with the recommendations of the Ferns Report” he added.

The Minister went on to say that the Department of Health and Children (in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office) will be undertaking an in depth study of the HSE’s powers in relation to third party child sexual abuse and that this will be followed by legislative proposals as required.

“The Government is fully committed taking all necessary action to protect children” concluded the Minister.