Mandatory reporting of child abuse concerns

 

A chara, – Your Editorial (December 13th) dealt with child protection in relation to mandatory reporting, and referred to Dr Helen Buckley’s article of December 11th). It seems indeed that insufficient thought and resources have been involved.

There is an additional factor which may also lead to “perverse consequences” (to use Dr Buckley’s term). Reporting abuse in any circumstances, and especially when within the family circle, can be daunting for those who have been abused and their families.

Some people who experience abuse, and/or their families, may have a strong aversion to any process involving official bodies such as the Garda or the HSE. In such cases, there is a danger that they may decide not to speak to anyone about it, lest it be reported in accordance with law.

While the legislation may do some good if given proper resources (lacking at present), and especially with personnel properly trained in interviewing children in such stressful circumstances, even then we may never know how many will be deterred from speaking, and so be left entirely without support. – Is mise,

PÁDRAIG McCARTHY,

Sandyford, Dublin 16.