Girl who alleged abuse by at least 12 may sue HSE

Legal proceedings could be taken over alleged delay in putting child into care

A girl, now 18, has been assessed as having made credible disclosures of being subject to sexual abuse by more than 12 individuals before being taken into care aged 10.

A girl, now 18, has been assessed as having made credible disclosures of being subject to sexual abuse by more than 12 individuals before being taken into care aged 10.

 

An alleged delay over years in taking an extremely vulnerable girl into care, despite concerns about her home situation before she was born, may expose the Health Service Executive to a claim for several million euro in damages.

The girl, now 18, has been assessed as having made credible disclosures of being subject to sexual abuse by more than 12 local individuals before being taken into care aged 10.

The girl has claimed her mother, described as having a range of difficulties, was present when a number of individuals came to the home.

The girl alleges she was sexually abused in her bedroom.

Allegations by her younger brother that he was sexually abused by some family members have also been assessed as credible.

Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the girl’s mother and maternal grandfather.

According to the girl’s court-appointed guardian, her father left the family home when she was four and concerns about the mother’s ability to safely parent increased over the years.

Ward of court

The guardian has alleged, while it was acknowledged that daily supports put in place for the family were not working, “nothing was done” for some years until it was decided in 2010 to take all of the children into care.

After that, the girl was in foster care for a period before being moved to a residential placement where she remains.

This week, she was made an adult ward of court by the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, based on reports she is “incredibly vulnerable” and traumatised and lacks capacity to make decisions about her personal situation and finances.

The judge said “serious issues” arose and he appointed the general solicitor for wards of court to vindicate the girl’s interests, which may include taking legal proceedings.

Legal sources have likened the girl’s situation to that of the intellectually disabled woman known as “Grace” for whom a €6.3 million HSE-funded settlement package was approved last year.

That was aimed at ensuring lifelong appropriate care for Grace who was failed by the State in relation to her care from when she was a child to a woman aged in her 30s.