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Written Answers - Child Abuse Prevention Training

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 112.  Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the European Economic and Social Committee made a recommendation in 2006, SOC/412, that child sexual abuse prevention training should be mandatory for all professionals and volunteers working with children, especially in law enforcement, health and education; her plans to introduce this regime here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23970/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am aware of the Committee recommendation referred to by the Deputy.

The revised Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, published in 2011, provides greater clarity and guidance for individuals and organisations in identifying and responding appropriately to child abuse and neglect. It also sets out what organisations which care for or work with children should do to ensure they are safe whilst in the organisation.

With the publication of the revised Guidance, staff within the HSE have been required to attend briefing sessions to ensure that they know their responsibilities. The HSE’s one day Children First Basic Level training programme has also been standardised. HSE Children First Information and Advice Officers have also provided standardised briefing sessions to staff working in the voluntary and community sector.

In addition, the HSE and An Garda Siochana work collaboratively to ensure that the statutory authorities provide a clear standard understanding of their roles and functions. The HSE and An Garda Siochana provide joint standardised training in Children First for social workers and gardai. An Garda Síochana lead out joint specialist interviewing training for social workers and gardai.

The Government has committed, as a priority, to the introduction of legislation to underpin Children First and the Heads of the Bill have been prepared and submitted to the Committee for Health and Children for their consideration. The implementation of this legislation will require that all staff working directly with children, including volunteers, receive child protec[329]tion training and that named Designated Officers are trained and understand their roles and responsibilities for reporting.

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