Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (356)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

356. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost to date of establishing a redress scheme for victims of sexual abuse in primary schools; the number of applicants that have been successful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13526/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The legacy of sexual abuse against children and young people, whether in residential institutions, in day schools, or in any other setting, is appalling. Everything that can be done should be done to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and to ensure that those responsible provide redress to the victims.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) is mandated to deal with litigation arising from abuse in schools but there isn't a redress scheme as such for victims of abuse in primary schools.

If the Deputy is referring to the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Louise O'Keeffe case, the Government agreed in December 2014 that out of court settlements be offered in those extant cases of school child sexual abuse being brought against the State where the cases come within the terms of the judgment and satisfy the Statute of Limitations. The SCA, who manage such cases on behalf of the State, has made settlement offers which have been accepted in 6 cases.

In July 2015, the Government approved proposals to offer ex-gratia payments up to a maximum of €84,000 to those who initiated legal proceedings in such cases against the State but who subsequently discontinued their claims against the State where, similarly, the circumstances of the claims come within the terms of the European Court’s judgment and where the claims were not statute barred prior to the proceedings being discontinued. Persons who believe that their cases come within the criteria can contact the SCA and provide supporting evidence. Where there is a disagreement between the SCA and the individual as to whether their circumstances come within the terms of the European Court’s judgment, the application can be reviewed by an independent assessor.