Over 10,000 children referred to Tusla for suspected emotional abuse

Figures for last year show significant increase in referrals

The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) received 67 child protection referrals every day last year, new figures show.

Some 24,815 children were referred to Tusla for various forms of suspected abuse last year, an increase from 20,357 in 2017.

Neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse were the most common reasons children were referred.

The figures show a significant increase in the number of children being referred for suspected emotional abuse last year – at 10,130 compared to 7,615 in 2017.

The number of children referred for suspected physical abuse increased from 4,942 in 2017 to 6,137 in 2018. A total of 3,548 referrals were made concerning sexual abuse of children, up from 3,170 in 2017.

The figures were revealed in a parliamentary question from Kildare TD Bernard Durkan about the most common forms of child abuse referred to the Department of Children.

In response, Tusla said all children who may have experienced abuse underwent a preliminary assessment.

If there was a concern that there was an ongoing risk of significant harm then the child was subject to a child protection conference process or a child being taken into care.

The rise in the number of referrals over the course of the year was due in part to the introduction of mandatory reporting of child protection concerns.