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One in Four proposals for National Inquiries into Child Sexual Abuse

In 2002 One in Four submitted proposals for a Standing Office of Inquiry to be established to investigate cases of systemic failures in child protection on a case by case basis in Ireland. One in Four was concerned that any attempt to institute a large scale national inquiry would prove unwieldy and unworkable. Irelandsí ongoing experience of Tribunals of Inquiry and the exhaustive, and often it appears fruitless, nature of their workings principally informed that view.

In light of calls for the expansion of the promised inquiry into clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin to incorporate a national inquiry we would repeat our 2002 call for a more considered, modular approach to that process. What we propose is the establishment of a Standing Commission of Investigation whose remit could be expanded to facilitate inquiries or investigations into individual dioceses or other areas once a clear need for such an inquiry had been determined. In the first instance such an investigation should, as planned and committed to by Government, focus on the Archdiocese of Dublin. Once that module is completed and reported upon it could then determine the need for further modules whether nationally or locally.

The implications of The Ferns Reports findings of glaring gaps in existing powers to respond to third party, or extra-familial, child abuse must be properly considered in planning the need for further inquiries. What we must surely acknowledge is that there may well be a need for investigations and inquiries into concerns that extend beyond clerical sexual abuse. If recent history teaches us anything it is that we must fully consider our responses to the need for investigations into child sexual abuse and develop a strategy that negates the constant reinvention and establishment of investigation after investigation. Such a process would be in the best interests of justice, would prove cost-effective and timely.


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Support and resources for people who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence.