1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Ireland: After the Ryan Report...The Next Big child abuse Scandal?

The Ryan report into the abuse that occurred in the industrial and reformatory schools – which were run by the religious orders and supposedly under the supervision of the state – has recently been released. At this system’s height there were 7,998 children in the care of the state. Since the release of the report we have heard politicians rushing to condemn this system and saying how shocking it was. I find it incredible to hear the politicians pandering to the press in their condemnation of the old industrial school system when they know that children under their care in 2009 are being neglected still.

by Judy 

Considering the gravity of the Ryan Report it would be natural to assume that the government is now doing everything in its power to prevent the abuse of children in state care. You would like to think that considering how wrong the government got it in the past, they would be doing their utmost to protect the children in their care. However that is not the case.

The government has confirmed that 6,500 child protection cases have not been allocated a social worker. There are over 1000 children who have been taken into state care that exist without a social worker: the state has no idea what is going on where they have been placed. No idea if these children are facing neglect, emotional, psychological, sexual or physical abuse [video]. High caseloads, staff burnout and massive staff turnovers mean that a child can have as many as 6 social workers in the space of a year. That is if they are lucky to have one at all. The reality is that if we intervene at all it’s nearly always too late.

My official title is community care social worker. But no one calls themselves that. We are child protection social workers. This is an indication of where the emphasis in our work lies. That is, to intervene only after the abuse has occurred. There is no prevention, no monitoring, only reaction after a child has been abused.

I’ve seen children move from foster carer to foster carer only to end up in a residential unit or secure unit when they reach ‘crisis point’ with no attempt to intervene before that. I know of a 10 year old boy who has already had 15 foster placements. He’ll end up in a residential unit eventually. The horror of some residential units cause many young people to turn to destructive behaviour as an escape mechanism.

About 800 children leave state care every year with no after care or no statutory right to it. The outcomes for many people who went through the industrial school system were not positive. Homelessness, mental health issues and alcoholism have marred many people’s lives since leaving the system. So what are we doing now to prevent the same happening to children in state care today? The answer is next to nothing. Once a kid hits 18, legally the HSE is covered and doesn’t care what happens to that young person next. A Focus Ireland study on young people leaving care in Ireland indicated that two years after leaving care 68% of those who had been in health board care had experienced homelessness.

One of the most telling signs that the government really does not care about the children in its care is the shocking fact that over 454 migrant children have gone missing from state care since 2000. When Madeleine McCann went missing the outpour of media and emotion was overwhelming. But these children are forgotten about and not even given a column inch in a local newspaper. A report is filled and that’s it. These are the most vulnerable in our society and the government doesn’t appear to care.

The practice of ‘covering one’s own ass’ has become foremost in many social worker’s minds. Meeting and decisions that can cause more damage are carried out so that ‘at least it’s down on paper.’ Bureaucracy has taken over and social workers feel that they are becoming more like administrators that have to record every detail of every conversation rather then actually spend time with the families and child. We are all waiting for the next scandal and want to know that when it hits we cannot be scapegoated.

At a recent conference Prof Pat Dolan (director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway) hit the nail on the head when he stated: ‘I sense a panic reaction among professionals, a defensiveness that is going to make things even worse. Early intervention is being done less as professionals seek to protect the system and themselves rather than the children. There’s a tendency to get into form filling . . . making sure they are covered rather than looking at high-risk cases.’

And so the government response is to soberly look at the camera to indicate disgust at the Ryan report and to put increasing pressure on social workers to not screw up. As a result children who would not normally be removed for a home are being removed and why? To cover one’s own ass and that of the government. It would be nice if we had a clearer picture of what they were being removed to. With the “head in the sand” policy the government are taking, only 20 years will tell.

The reality is that another scandal lies in waiting. I know, as do most of my colleagues, as do those that run the country, that it is just a matter of time before it breaks. However those children are not heard or cared about by the politicians – children can’t vote and the media coverage dies away. If we don’t want history to repeat itself, we need a system that values the rights of children more than the profits of bankers.

in anarkismo.net


Download the Executive Summary in PDF format
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Related blogs :
Casa Pia [PT. news and analyses] by António Balbino Caldeira
Jersey Scandal [EN. news and analyses] by Senator Stuart Syvret


  1. Abuse report: Victim of priest says ‘too little, too late’

    By Lesley-Anne Henry
    Thursday, 21 May 2009

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    A Northern Ireland woman who was sexually abused by a priest when she was just six years old has described the Ryan report as “too little, too late”.

    The west Belfast woman, who now lives in Co Antrim, was the first person to speak out against the now notorious Fr Brendan Smyth in 1990. And following her brave example hundreds of others across Ireland, England and the United States came forward.

    Smyth, a member of the Norbertine Catholic religious order, was later jailed for rape.

    The woman, who does not want her identity revealed, said the publication of yesterday’s damning report would be of little comfort to the thousands of “abuse survivors”.

    “The first thing is that it took nine years to complete the Ryan Report — that’s far too long. It should have been done 20 years ago because the Church was well aware of the abuse. They moved priests from parish to parish when allegations were made and they never went to the police.

    “As far as I am concerned this is too little, too late,” she said.

    She continued: “I was taken quite seriously because I went to social services and they have an obligation to investigate every allegation and they went to the police. I had no faith in going to my local parish. But the response from the Catholic Church was very poor and I really don’t think the lesson will ever be learnt.”


  2. Amazing to see how suddenly, many abuse stories in schools came to light , from the pass. the investigation, as usual will end up with no consequences because the abusers died already and the victims are too shocked to start a war lost long time ago.
    I hope that sad stories give strenght to the childs abused now, to not be affraid and come to the news highlighting the abusers and the nightmare they are going trough, no matter if the abusers belong to a school or to their own family. Most important, I hope the gov. listen to victims voices and lift the blindness which afects justice.
    HOW LONG are we going to wait for actual ABUSERS to come to justice?... Their life or the VICTIMS LIFE?

  3. A child does not have to go to a reformatory school to be abused by others.
    Most cases happen in its own family, by relatives, friends.
    Sometimes it even costs its life.
    We know it, don't we?

  4. O julgamento da Casa Pia e uma verdadeira tortura para as vitimas que todos os dias relembram os abusos por que passaram e nao vem a justica ser feita e os abusadores castigados.

    Julgamentos deste genero envergonham toas as sociedades modernas e demonstram que a vitima e sempre o elo mais fraco, mesmo quando denuncia um crime condenavel pela maioria da sociedade.

    A justica na Casa Pia nao e dissuasora, demonstrando que o crime compensa. Muitos dos abusadores, quando forem condenados, ja terao morrido ou estarao tao velhos e doentes que a prisao mais que um castigo sera albergue para a velhice com cuidados paleativos pagos pelos contribuintes inocentes. As vitimas ficarao sempre injusticadas e cumprindo a vergonha de publicamente terem assumido os abusos atrozes de que foram vitimas.
    So ha justica nestes casos se houver celeridade. Ate agora tem havido VERGONHA.... VERGONHA!

  5. More 'suspect news'

    Published: Wednesday, 8th July, 2009 12:47pm

    The ‘News’ can reveal that a former Largs resident is to be questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    The shock move comes after a series of drawings were recently issued of suspects who were spotted in the Portuguese town of Praia da Luz on May 3 2007 around the time of the four year old’s disappearance.

    Full story in this week's Largs and Millport Weekly News.


  6. He said: “The investigators currently searching for Madeleine are aware of this man and they do want to speak to him.


    Exact same words he said about Hewlett..which photo might this be the one that looked like Hewlett or Mr.Spotty Dick who I believe has been cleared.


    Mccanns just cannot bear being out of the limelight can they.

  7. This is the suspect of this week, Joana, like Amaral and Sargento predicted.
    Every week a new suspect.
    This makes the Mccanns more and more ridiculous.
    They could better stop and get a life.

  8. Letter from Iberia.
    Ref Joanas post to this topic see full text below my post

    Once again we can see the McCann smoke and mirrors spin at work
    Note that once again it is the "Private McCann Mafia Mob" that are to "investigate" yet another unnamed suspect.
    Yet another ploy to enable them to keep wetting their beaks and eating from the golden trough being financed by a fund which still has nothing to do with finding their daughter but is to ensure that the McCann’s continue to muddy the water with more dis-information in their continuing endeavours to hide their guilt and complicity in the death of their daughter.
    It has to be admitted that the McCann’s are extremely good at the smoke and mirrors game and that they are so much more successful at hiding and distorting the truth than the Portuguese Justice system is at the pursuing of truth and justice for an innocent little girl who died whilst a visitor to their country

    The ‘News’ can reveal that a former Largs resident is to be questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    The shock move comes after a series of drawings were recently issued of suspects who were spotted in the Portuguese town of Praia da Luz on May 3 2007 around the time of the four year old’s disappearance.

    Consequently, a prison officer at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow noticed a similarity to one of the in-mates, and contacted investigators.

    Private detectives, who are working with the McCann family, have confirmed they want to question the man, who is currently awaiting trial for murder and child sex offences in Barlinnie. The ‘News’ understands that the man resided in Largs.

    Full story in this week's Largs and Millport Weekly News.

  9. We need to be reminded that Gerry is Irish Catholic.

    Maybe brought up not to care for children in the right way.

  10. It seems if you open your mouth about child abuse...you will go to prison.

    Jersey senator faces data charges 9/07/2009

    A controversial Jersey politician who claimed officials on the island covered up child abuse has been charged with two data protection offences following articles he wrote on his internet blog.

    Whistleblower Stuart Syvret was arrested in April and his home raided by officers who interviewed and released him pending further inquiries.

    The 44-year-old was called back to police headquarters on Wednesday night and was charged with two offences which relate to an article written on stuartsyvret.blogspot.com on March 19.

    He is due to appear at Jersey Magistrates' Court on July 16. One of the charges is understood to relate to publishing a confidential police report which contained personal data.

    Syvret was an outspoken critic of the establishment's handling of the historic police investigation into child abuse on the island and in 2007 he was dismissed from his post as Minister for Health and Social Services after claiming abuse cases were being covered up.

    Advertisement - article continues below »

    The investigation focused on the Haut de la Garenne children's home where hundreds of former residents claimed they were sexually and violently assaulted.

    Syvret, who called for both an independent inquiry and for court cases to be held on the UK mainland, was accused by the Chief Minister, Frank Walker, of damaging Jersey's reputation.

    In April he said his arrest was "politically motivated" he was considering legal action against the police.

    At the time another Jersey child welfare whistleblower, social worker Simon Bellwood, said Syvret's blog had upset the Jersey establishment as it "could not be controlled".

    The 34-year-old, who was sacked from his post as centre manager at a Jersey secure unit for children after he tried and failed to change the "Dickensian" regime at the facility, said he feared the establishment would "use data protection laws to shut him up".



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