Ireland reveals plan to combat child abuse
DUBLIN - Ireland unveiled a plan yesterday to better protect children from abuse after investigators documented decades of chronic molestation and brutality in Catholic-run facilities for children.
The 99-point plan from Children’s Minister Barry Andrews seeks to improve child-protection services and tighten enforcement. It also proposes building a memorial to thousands of children abused under Catholic care through the 1990s.
Andrews said all children’s shelters must be subject to independent inspection by next year, and 270 more social workers must be recruited because too many children had nobody to assess the dangers in their lives.
Andrews’s plan is a direct response to a fact-finding investigation into past abuse in Catholic schools, orphanages, and reformatories that shocked the nation.
The investigators determined in a 2,600-page report published in May that orders of Catholic brothers and nuns abused tens of thousands of children in their care - and secular authorities did nothing effective to stop it.
The nine-year investigation also highlighted how Ireland today still has poor standards for protecting children from beatings, molestation, and other cruelty. It made 20 recommendations to the government that Andrews said have been fully accepted.
The government plan specifies spending an extra $35 million in the coming year to hire more social workers and counselors, and also require employers to observe a decade-old government policy on protecting children.
For the first time, Ireland would provide emergency telephone support for children at nighttime and on weekends, when the most dangerous family disputes typically occur.