Teenager who claims she was sexually assaulted seeks safe place

Homeless girl (15) living in hostel with older males says she feels frightened at night

The girl’s application for judicial review was made, on an ex-parte basis, before Mr Justice Michael Twomey.

The girl’s application for judicial review was made, on an ex-parte basis, before Mr Justice Michael Twomey.

 

A teenage girl who claims she has twice been sexually assaulted by older men has brought a High Court challenge aimed at securing a safe place to live.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been placed in a hostel which her lawyers say is “chaotic,” “unsuitable” and “unsafe.”

The girl, who for various reasons cannot live with family members, has been the subject of interim care orders and had been placed in foster homes.

However those placements had broken down, and she has ended up in a hostel with several older males, who are homeless and have problems with intoxicants.

It is claimed the behaviour of some of the others staying at the hostel is anti-social and can be violent, to the degree the girl has to lock herself in her room. She finds the facility frightening, particularly when other residents bang on her bedroom door during the night, the court heard.

There is also a curfew of 9pm. On occasions when the girl has missed the curfew, it is claimed she was not let into the hostel by its staff, who allegedly told to go to a nearby Garda station. She does not want to stay at the station and has spent the nights she was unable to get into the hostel either outdoors or elsewhere.

The teen has alleged she was the subject of two separate sexual assaults. One is alleged to have occurred when a man brought into an alley after buying her drink. The second occurred while she was drugged after being lured to a party by another female, the court heard.

Gardaí are investigating both allegations.

The teen, through her mother and represented by Ronan Munro SC, has brought High Court proceedings aimed at securing a safe residential placement for her.

Counsel said that representations have been made to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, that she be provided with alternative and suitable accommodation.

While Tusla has said it is looking into finding her somewhere else to go, it appears from correspondence that it is not going to provide her with immediate respite accommodation, the court heard.

Her action is against the Child and Family Agency, the Ministers for Education and Children, Ireland and the Attorney General.

She seeks various orders and declarations including an order that she be provided with a safe place to stay, as well as declarations that she be provided with proper educational facilities and that her human rights have been breached.

The girl’s application for judicial review was made, on an ex-parte basis, before Mr Justice Michael Twomey on Monday afternoon.

The judge adjourned the matter to Tuesday’s sitting of the court. He directed that the CFA be put on notice of the proceedings.