Senior Social Worker Speaks Exclusively to TheIrishObserver.blogspot.com
Today The Irish Observer.blogspot.com has been given the opportunity to speak exclusively with a now recently retired Senior Social Worker who says that she could not speak out while employed by the HSE and could still face prosecution due to the confidentiality clause in her contract of employment. However, she feels so strongly about certain issues that she has decided to speak with The Irish Observer where her anonymity will be protected.
Q. How long where you a Social Worker?
A. For over twenty years.
Q. And is it the case that you have retired in the normal course of events?
A. Yes, I was due to retire earlier but worked on due to the shortages in staff.
Q. Where in Ireland did you work while you were a Social Worker?
A. I worked in three area Health Boards, this was due mainly to my various promotions and I went to those areas where expertise was absent due to retirements or simply lack of staff.
Q. Your main reason for contacting me by email was the fact that I had written a number of articles on sexual crime in Ireland, is that correct?
A. Yes, I stumbled across your Blog when I was researching a paper on sexual crime, and I would have to say that your Blogs appeared to be saying exactly what my experience had told me. Although I would have to say I was surprised that you had such an insight into how the HSE and criminal justice system work.
Q. Well I am sure you are well aware that my journey through life has not been a smooth one?
A. Yes, I am well aware of your past, I have read your Blogs
Q. Has Child Protection changed for the better in your twenty years as a Social Worker?
A. The simple answer is No. Social workers and other professionals continue to have far too much power when it comes to dealing with Child Protection issues.
Q. Can you expand on that idea of professionals having too much power?
A. The reality is that there is no mandatory reporting of child abuse including child rape in this country that means that a child reporting rape to a teacher, a GP, even a Social Worker cannot be certain that the information provided will be passed onto the Gardai. This means that effectively people like myself can decide what cases we report and what cases we keep quiet. You can imagine how this works in small towns and villages.
Q. Are you saying that a GP has no legal obligation to report the rape of a child to the Gardai?
A. Absolutely not and I have witnessed many cases where such reports to GPs and other professionals have been hidden for many years and only come to light when a rape victim becomes an adult and pursues a criminal prosecution themselves.
Q. In such cases are we talking about children sexually abused by family members?
A. That would make up a great deal of such cases but not exclusively. You have to remember that in rural areas, small towns and villages a GP’s income can be heavily dependent on a small number of extended families, for a GP to report the rape of a child to the Gardai it could cost him/her their lively hood in that area.
Q. Are you saying that economic considerations are taken into account in matters of Child Protection?
A. Well that’s nothing new, as you have often said yourself the Fianna Fail could find millions to spend on top hotels and other luxuries yet they could not find the small amount of money needed to ensure the protection of children in their own care.
Q. How wide spread a problem is child abuse in Ireland?
A. People try to suggest that there are varying degrees of child abuse, however, in my experience those who physically abuse children will also have the propensity to sexually abuse children, and the important thing for an abuser is the objectification of the victim. The abuser views the child as being their property and therefore they can do what they like to that child without facing any real prospect of punishment. There will be exceptions to every rule but my experience suggests that all abuse should be treated with equal seriousness. Each of the fourteen area Health Boards confirm approximately one-thousand cases of child abuse each year, that is approximately fourteen-thousand confirmed cases of child abuse in Ireland each year, the degrees of abuse will vary from excessive beatings, serious neglect to multiple rapes. International expertise is also of the opinion that those who conceal child abuse/rape will at some point abuse children themselves, by concealing such abuse they are abusing by proxy.
Q. How much goes undetected?
A. That is impossible to answer, however, I think we only touch the tip of the ice-berg, children are easily silenced and when those who facilitate or conceal such crime don’t face any punishment, this leaves perpetrators of abuse with a free hand.
Q. But surely many cases are prosecuted through the courts?
A. Less than four per cent (4%) of confirmed cases of child sexual abuse are ever prosecuted, there are thousands of files within the Health Boards where men and women in equal number have admitted to sexually abusing children and none of those files have ever been passed onto the Gardai. I have seen cases where people who have admitted raping several children were simply sent by Social Workers to the Granada Institute for counselling, those abused children remained in the family home. The HSE is legally bound and cannot release this confidential information to anyone, even if that person is working with children, if the person is not prosecuted then their name does not show up when employers are vetting potential employees. It is the case that Rape victims as young as 11/12 years of age who have become pregnant have been taken to CURA in Dublin or across the water over the years in order to conceal their rapes.
Q. Why do you think the Fianna Fail Government failed to introduce Mandatory reporting of child rape even though it was an election pledge in 1997?
A. I honestly believe that child abuse is too close to home for many, I was often lobbied by County Councillors and TDs not to send certain files forward to the Gardai, Politicians had a great deal of influence when they were on the Health Board Committees and indeed they still have power and influence.
Q. Are you saying that Politicians would lobby Health Board staff in order to stop prosecutions?
A. What I am saying is that in certain cases where politicians were contacted by perpetrators or the family of perpetrators and asked to contact the Health Board with a view to stopping matters going forward to the Gardai those politicians contacted us and in most cases those cases did not go forward to the Gardai.
Q. What is your view on the scandal hitting the Catholic Church about the rape and sexual molestation of children by members of its religious orders?
A. Firstly, I think that it is important to point out that the Catholic Church did not conceal these crimes on their own, there are many files relating to members of religious orders gathering dust in Health Board offices, many of these reported cases were never investigated due to the power of the Church and their friends in high places. I did not need the Ferns, Murphy or Ryan Reports to tell me that there had been a massive cover up. However, what I would say is that any case that I handed over to the Gardai was fully and comprehensively investigated and prosecutions followed from many of those investigations in the three Health Board areas where I worked, however, I did not have control over all cases and many were buried upon instruction.
Q. Do you believe that we have got the full story about what happened within the Catholic Church?
A. Absolutely not, the cover ups are continuing, thousands of religious were simply moved from pillar to post to cover up their crimes, few if any prosecutions will follow from the three reports that I have mentioned and that means that thousands of known child rapists continue to live in communities all over this country and further a field and nobody is aware of their crimes, indeed, even the Gardai have no legal right to monitor the activities of these individuals setting aside the fact that the task is beyond the budget of any police service.
Q. That brings me on to another question, setting aside those who have not been prosecuted, are those who have been prosecuted for sexual crimes against children being monitored in accordance with best practice in child protection?
A. No, is the simply answer, the Gardai are doing their best with the legislation and resource available to them, however, the reality is that persons convicted of sexual offending have no access to rehabilitative care while in prison, they are simply warehoused and then thrown out onto the street with no follow up services available. Some have post release supervision orders but these are simply a waste of time as we don’t have the staff to follow through. The obligation for a convicted person to notify the Gardai of their address within seven days of their release from prison is useless as it is legal to give no fixed abode as their legal address. All of the International standards set down by countries such as Canada are completely ignored in Ireland. What we need is a seamless transition for such offenders where they are firstly given access to rehabilitative opportunity in prison such as the specific programme that was run in Arbour Hill Prison, upon release they need to be safely housed and given job or training opportunities. International best practice suggests that those who have committed sexual crimes can be best monitored while in full time work/training or education and are appropriately housed. Unfortunately the tabloid press has been dictating social policy in this country for many years due to the weakness of politicians such as the former Minister for Justice, John O Donoghue, however, as we see now on a daily basis the tabloid press are just as much engaged in criminal activity and putting children at risk, as any person appearing before the courts.
Q. Do you believe that Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse would reduce child sexual crime in Ireland?
A. It would have an immediate effect; unlike the 2001 Sex Offenders Act which since its introduction sexual crimes right across the board have went sky high, ill-considered legislation simply facilitates sexual crime. If people who are concealing and facilitating sexual crime from the Gardai know they will face prosecution if they do not come forward then the sea in which perpetrators swim will soon dry up. Fathers/Mothers, Uncles/Aunts, Grannies/Granddads, Bishops/Cardinals, Politicians/Social Workers the list is endless will soon step forward if they know that they will face public prosecution if they do not report the sexual abuse of children.
Q. What I found interesting about our initial conversation was that you said that unlicensed Mind Altering drugs are continuing to be feed to children in this country is that correct?
A. Yes, Mind Altering drugs that are not licensed in this country for children such as Seroxat are still being prescribed for children yet they have been banned for child consumption in all other European Countries. This is particularly dangerous when dealing with children who are claiming abuse.
Q. Are you saying that children who are making allegations of abuse are being given Mind Altering drugs that are not licensed in this country?
A. Yes, this can have a very dangerous out come in such cases and those prescribing the drugs know very well the effects of such unlicensed drugs. For example, if a child makes an allegation of sexual abuse against a parent or relative and the family would rather that these allegations were concealed it is very easy to get a GP to prescribe something like Seroxat for the child in question. Seroxat should not be used on children as it has mind and mood altering effects, the result is that the child becomes abusive and disruptive and the focus moves from the alleged perpetrator to what is now an abusive and disruptive child. Equally and I have seen all of this happen, Seroxat coupled with discredited practice such a regression therapy can take a child from making allegations of physical abuse to allegations of sexual abuse, rape and even satanic ritual. I have watched in horror as judges have handed down heavy sentences to people as the judge said the child had tried to take their own life as a result of the alleged abuse, yet I knew and so did those involved in the cases, that these children had not tried to take their own life until they had been feed Seroxat or some other Mind Altering drug.
Q. Are you then suggesting that some allegations of sexual abuse may have arisen from the misuse of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs and such discredited practice as regression therapy?
A. I am saying that very clearly, I have seen it happen and I have been supported in my views by Forensic Psychologists and other professionals, however, in the present environment of moral panic and knee jerk political reaction where social policy is dictated by Tabloid headlines I doubt that any serious discussion of these matters will be had for some time to come.
Q. Are you saying that people may have been convicted before the courts on false evidence, evidence that may well be true in the mind of the alleged victim but was invented through the misuse of unlicensed mind altering drugs and discredit practices such as regression therapy?
A. In my view, any case that has involved the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs such as Seroxat should never have went to court, and if such cases have went to court and a conviction was secured then those cases should be over turned with immediate effect. I am an advocate for international standards of best practice in child protection, I am not an advocate for miscarriages of justice and in my view there have been many of them. The vast majority of those accused of child sexual molestation normally admit their crimes, however, there is an over whelming burden on juries in this country to believe the ‘victim’, why would he/she say such a thing about a relative, however, if the jury knew what some of these children are being subjected to I think the verdicts could be different in some cases. I think that Barristers, Judges, the Gardai and others need to be aware that unlicensed Mind Altering Drugs and discredited practices are being used behind the scenes. This evidence is never produced in Court and even if it were the Courts would have no idea what they were dealing with. I have seen children so indoctrinated that they have been able to reproduce their original statements to the Gardai with 100% word accuracy to the Court, even though the original statement may have been made years earlier.
Q. But surely no professional is going to allow what could be false evidence to go before the court if it means an innocent person going to jail?
A. It all depends on the case, some professionals like the headlines as much as everyone else, if there is a drive against a particular individual then all the stops will be pulled out to secure a conviction, I have seen it done, but I had no control over the said cases.
Q. I am absolutely amazed that unlicensed Mind Altering drugs are being used in such cases, can anything be done?
A. I think the pharmaceutical companies are very powerful and they have to sell their drugs, the Irish Medicines Board are too reliant on third party research that can often be traced back to the pharmaceuticals, GPs have far too much autonomy, and newly qualified psychologists are simply learning their trade as they go along, psychology is not a science yet certain discredited practices coupled with the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs can have a deep mental, psychological, emotional and medical impact on an individual and in particular a child. I don’t think any Government will have the political will to face up to what is a momentous task.
Q. Finally, what would your advice be to the Government in relation to cases of alleged childhood abuse where Seroxat or any other Mind Altering drug was administered to the alleged victim?
A. All convictions based on the evidence of any child or children who were given Seroxat or any other Mind Altering drug should be immediately quashed, there should be an immediate end to the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs such as Seroxat for any child in any circumstances but particularly in cases where allegations of abuse are being made. It is a crazy situation where an unlicensed Mind Altering drug can be administered to children by GPs and others, not all Doctors are good Doctors. Such discredited techniques as regression therapy should be banned in all cases relating to allegations of childhood abuse. We need a system of checks and balances in which GPs and others are regularly checked to ensure that they are meeting with best practice when it comes to child protection in particular. We cannot continue with the bizarre situation where some GPs are operating surgeries out of their front sitting room without any regular checks or balances in place by the HSE.
Thank you for this insightful interview, I can only hope that it will be used to help bring about best practice in Child Protection in Ireland.
When contacted about the allegations in this interview, The Irish Medicines Board referred me to the following statement on their website in relation to the use of the unlicensed Mind Altering drug Seroxat. A spokesperson also said that they had received complaints from some individuals who stated that they had been feed Seroxat as children and the drug had induced false memories, personality disorders and attempted suicide, and that these matters were always taken seriously.
SEROXAT (PAROXETINE) CONTRAINDICATED FOR CHILDREN
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) confirmed that the findings of recent Seroxat clinical studies undertaken by the manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) found that it was not effective in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder and showed an increased rate of self-harm and potentially suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents treated in the studies. As a result of this new information the IMB considers that Seroxat should not be used to treat children and teenagers under the age of 18 years. The IMB has ensured healthcare professionals have been advised of this latest information and have amended the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) and product licence to contraindicate use of Seroxat in patients under 18 years of age with major depressive disorder.
The IMB re-emphasises to healthcare professionals that Seroxat is not and has not been licensed for use in children or adolescents in Ireland. However, doctors have the authority to prescribe any product for a patient under their care if it is deemed appropriate. The IMB wants to stress the importance for doctors, patients and parents to be aware of this new advice and for patients under 18 years who may be taking Seroxat to consult their doctor for advice. It is essential that patients taking Seroxat do not suddenly discontinue use of their treatment, because of the risk of withdrawal effects. Any changes must take place under medical supervision.
Good Information.. Nice information shared. I will read all of this all later. Thnxx.
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