Submission into the Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes Against Children and Vulnerable Adults) Bill 2011
Barnardos. (2011). Submission into the Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes Against Children and Vulnerable Adults) Bill 2011. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/402
Barnardos welcomes the opportunity to feed into the development of the Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes against Children and Vulnerable Adults) Bill 2011. This Bill is a necessary response to the Cloyne Report (2011) and other reports into clerical, residential and familial child abuse all of which highlighted the failure of professionals and members of the public to report concerns regarding children’s welfare and protection. The collective failure of Irish society to listen to children allowed horrific abuse to continue without intervention to protect the children affected. The introduction of this Bill sends out a clear message that everyone in society has a responsibility to protect children and that the abuse and neglect of children will not be tolerated. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that the silence that allowed the abuse of children to continue unabated is ended. We must be able to say to those children who have been abused in the past: never again. Ireland’s child protection system is in a state of flux and there is little public confidence in it to meet the needs of vulnerable children. Barnardos welcomes the recent developments to ameliorate the child welfare and protection system such as the imminent creation of the Child and Family Support Services Agency, the revised Children’s First Guidance and the HSE Child Protection and Welfare Handbook. However, these developments must be underpinned by sufficient resources both financial and personnel and a strong legislative base. Legislation is essential to ensuring the consistent implementation of child welfare and protection policy across Ireland.