Dr Conor O’Mahony, the Government’s special rapporteur on child protection, Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
Further to revelations yesterday that people under investigation for child abuse, including sexual abuse, will be permitted to personally interview their alleged victims.
The guidelines, according to Dr Conor Mahony, who was last year appointed by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone as the Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, are a product of the “imperfect legal environment” Tusla operates in.
Via The Irish Times:
Dr O’Mahony, a child law expert, said the policy to permit the cross-examination of a complainant is a “position driven by litigation and not by Tusla policy decisions”.
He added previous court rulings had made it clear Tusla had “significant discretion” in determining how an alleged victim might be cross-examined by the accused.
Social workers must “stress test” allegations when interviewing complainants, the guidelines state, including by asking if there may be an “alternative explanation” or “misinterpretation on their part” in relation to the allegations.
If direct questioning by the accused is judged inappropriate, other forms of “stress testing” should be considered, including allowing the suspect to write out questions to be put to the complainant, allowing their solicitor to question the complainant, or allowing the suspect to ask questions via videolink.
A petition calling for the immediate withdraw of these plans.
Yesterday: A Final Betrayal