Services and Policy Press Releases

CARI’s response to Dame Smith’s report into Jimmy Savile’s decades of sexual abuse

Thursday 25th February, 2016.

CARI today responded to Dame Smith's report into decades of sexual abuse and rape at the BBC.

Dame Janet Smith stopped short of finding senior management turning their backs on victims, however her report found them responsible for a culture of sexual discrimination and harassment in which sexual predators like Savile and Stewart Hall could flourish. A deeply hierarchal structure also contributed to this.  It is a serious indictment of the BBC and while many of the offenses relate to the 70’s and 80’s, the most recent case occurred in 2004. The range of offenses is truly harrowing. Amongst the 72 victims, there were 8 victims of rape with a child as young as 13 yrs. old and the youngest child we know about, who was subject to abuse, being only 8 yrs. old.

CEO Mary Flaherty says “CARI has pointed out before that the easiest place for an abuser to hide is in plain sight and in trusted and respected positions. It’s a challenge to all organisations now to ensure that they have the highest level of child protection policies and practices in their organisation whether big or small, private or public, state or voluntary. One of Dame Smith’s most concerning findings, was that there were 5 different opportunities missed to stop their criminal behaviour and protect children in their care. Our thoughts are with those victims who will need time to respond to this report and who will have views as to its adequacy.


Contact;  Mary Flaherty CEO

Founded in 1989, CARI is one of Ireland’s leading voluntary providers of therapy to children, families and groups affected by child sexual abuse.

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CARI Response to closure of CASATS Galway


Monday 4th January, 2016.

CARI calls on HSE to take urgent action to ensure the immediate reopening of the State’s only 24-hour treatment service for children and adolescents who have been sexually assaulted in Ireland.

CARI is outraged at the closure of the State’s only 24-hour treatment service for children and adolescents who have been sexually assaulted: the Galway-based Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service (CASATS). CASATS has played a key role in providing immediate forensic examinations of children who have been sexually assaulted or raped.

Since July 2014, CARI has provided an accompaniment service for children and families attending CASATS. The service is led by CARI and provided by seventeen volunteers on a twenty four hour all year basis. Since the services opened in July 2014, 88 children and families have been accompanied.  

Eve Farrelly Co-ordinator of the service says “We support the children and families during and after their forensic medical examination. We know first-hand from speaking with these families that when a family is faced with the reality of having to bring their child to be forensically examined because of suspected sexual abuse their whole world can sometimes feel like it’s been taken from under their feet.

At the moment in Ireland, CASATS is the only 24-hour acute and historic forensic medical service for children suspected of sexual abuse. Without this service, children will have no dedicated unit to go should they need a forensic examination. In 2016 this is a wholly unacceptable situation.”


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Children First Bill: Calls time on physical punishment of children

Press Statement on Corporal Punishment Ban 11 November 2015
Press Statement 11 November 2015

Children First Bill: Calls time on physical punishment of children

On Wednesday 11 November 2015, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, heralded the final stages of the Children First Bill through the Dáil, thus concluding its passage through the Oireachtas. Independent Senator and children’s rights advocate, Jillian van Turnhout warmly welcomes the completion of the Children First Bill, which effectively calls time on the physical punishment of children.

She said “there must never be a defence for violence against children. I am honoured to have championed and secured the effective ban on the physical punishment of children in Ireland. The Children First Act will put child welfare and protection on a statutory footing.  It will solidify good intentions. As part of this legislation I brought forward an amendment to abolish the archaic common law defence of “reasonable chastisement” and finally vanquish it to the realms of history."

“The defence of “reasonable chastisement” is not an Irish invention; it came to us from English common law. Through its colonial past, England has been responsible for rooting this legal defence in over 70 countries and territories throughout the world.  In this action being taken today, the Government is putting children first and providing leadership that will hopefully give confidence to other countries across the globe, including our nearest neighbours, to protect children from violence.”

“Why as a society do we accept that we even have to debate whether it is okay to hit someone? Let alone when that someone is smaller than us and probably doesn’t understand why they are being hit?”
“I fully agree with Minister Reilly that the abolition of the defence of reasonable chastisement is a tangible and practical manifestation of children’s rights and I am very proud of the role I have played in securing it.”

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Universal Children’s Day: Practical guide to European law relating to rights of the child

On the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), launch a handbook on European law relating to rights of the child. “The promotion and protection of rights of the child is one of the EU’s objectives. However, legal practitioners are not always familiar with European law and jurisprudence in this area,” says FRA
interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos. “We are glad to offer this useful guide to assist practitioners better protect children so they can effectively enjoy their rights.” 

This handbook is designed to assist lawyers, judges, prosecutors, social workers, nongovernmental organisations and other bodies confronted with legal issues relating to rights of the child. The publication covers issues such as equality, personal identity, family life, alternative care and adoption, migration and asylum, child protection against violence and exploitation, as well as children’s rights within criminal justice and alternative proceedings. The handbook is available in English and French. Other language versions will follow in 2016. The launch of the handbook is part of the annual World Forum for Democracy, organised by the
Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Download here

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