You may recall the investigation in April by the Children’s Ombudsman into the HSE’s neglect of a 10-year-old rape victim, Maggie.
Philip Boucher-Hayes writes:
Emma is eleven now, her parents are estranged and she would frequently return to her mum from overnight visits to her father with unexplained rashes, and disturbed/withdrawn behaviour.
Emma made a disclosure of abuse to her mother, she made the same disclosure to her GP, her teacher and the gardaí. This little girl never once changed her story.
As you know the DPP seldom pursues prosecutions in this area largely because the evidence and testimony of young children is viewed as unreliable. But in Emma’s case the DPP decided to prosecute.
….Just as in Maggie’s case [see link below], for whatever reason some officials in the HSE decided that Emma’s mother was a bigger problem than this apparent open and shut case of child abuse. They recommended against Garda advice that the father be allowed to resume access visits.
Emma’s mum was forced to go through the agony of sending her children, she says against their will, to stay overnight with their father … from where she would get text messages that would break the heart of any parent. This is a transcript of my interview with her.
Mother: “So the girls had a phone when the first went to stay with him. And they’d text me “I’m crying. I don’t want to be here”. They just didn’t want to go down to him and I had to force them to go down because I was told if I didn’t send them I’d be arrested. And that would be exactly what he would want, me being arrested and being found not to be a fit mother.”
PBH:“Was Emma abused again?”
Mother:“Yes she was. On two occasions that I know of…. that I have seen the physical manifestations of the abuse again, yes. One of them she had to have a rape examination in the children’s hospital. She had an anal infection, and they found pubic hair.”
PBH:“So there was a wealth of forensic and medical evidence supporting claims of abuse for the hospital to pass on to the HSE? Did they act on it?”
Mother: No they didn’t. They had a meeting and they decided that they weren’t going to act on it because it had come from me.
PBH:“It was medical evidence of abuse.”
Mother:“My opinion on it is that they have made a grave grave mistake, and I’ve told them so. I said that I would hold them responsible, and I will until I get an apology for Emma.”
PBH:In your opinion did they directly expose Emma to the risk of being raped?
Mother: “Yes … Yes … I am absolutely sure that they did. They had a wealth of people that they could contact. They never did. They spoke to the wrong teacher in her school. I alerted them to that. They still didn’t care. I wrote into them all the times they were making a mistake.”
“But every time I did the risk was that I would have them taken off me, and I was afraid. I had to way up the fact that if I did they’d be given to him …. or I could just keep my mouth shut … and I’ve had to do that. …. It’s absolutely eating me.
Previously : The Case of Maggie