Written Answers. - Child Abuse Investigations.

Liz O'Donnell

Question:

136 Ms O'Donnell asked the Minister for Justice the current status of the informal investigation which was carried out by a Judge appointed by her into allegations that children were abused while in the care of the probation service; the action, if any, which has been taken on foot of the Judge's report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9390/97]

The informal investigation by the Judge was to examine allegations made by a sex abuse victim in the course of a criminal trial. These allegations were to the effect that the victim had made complaints of sexual abuse to a probation officer and that officer had failed to report the matter.

The Judge's report is under examination but in the meantime he made recommendations as to how the probation and welfare service should deal with such cases should they arise in the future. My Department's probation and welfare service has since introduced updated guidelines for staff dealing with all types of child abuse which incorporate the Judge's recommendations. These new guidelines came into effect for probation and welfare service staff on 15 January 1997. Having concluded my deliberations on the report, I will take whatever further action or legal advice is required.