Pat Rabbitte, Chairman of Tusla. The child and family agency insist alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints and the identity of those making them


Via The Irish Times

Therapy services are no longer asking child sex abuse victims to disclose their abusers’ names due to a Tusla policy mandating that alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints.

Under current guidelines, therapists and victim-support groups must disclose reports of child sex abuse, including historic cases, to the child and family agency, along with the identities of the complainants and alleged abuser.

Tusla policy is to then inform the alleged abuser of the complaint and to begin an assessment. This is the case even if the complainant does not want an investigation.

…Tusla cited a “complex legislative space” and said court decisions and “natural justice” mean it must inform alleged abusers of complaints.

It said this approach will not change under a revised policy framework which is due to come into effect next year.


The counselling service One In Four stopped asking clients the name of their alleged abusers in November 2019. “It’s just too dangerous,” said executive director Maeve Lewis.

Cliona Sadlier, head of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, said one of the first questions clients ask is “if I come in to you do you have to report me?


Previously: Tusla And The Silencing

Tusla policy ‘endangering’ victims of child sex abuse, say therapists (Irish Times)

Pic: Tusla

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29 thoughts on “Unspeakable

  1. White Dove

    I wonder perhaps if TUSLA is under the control of people who do not have the best interests of victims at heart?

    1. Kolmo

      It’s a CYA* exercise, like everything else – the first question asked at any meeting of any apparently admirable state agencies – “How are we exposed legally?” absolutely everything else is secondary including the protection of dignity and safety of clients (see Hep C scandals etc)

      *Cover your arse

      1. Barry the Hatchet

        “How are we exposed legally?” or, to put it another way “How can we act within the law?”

  2. Joe Small

    That’s a dreadful development. Not sure why you’re highlighting it with a photo of Pat Rabitte though. He’s only Chairman. Non-executive chairs don’t control the organization on a day-to-day basis.

    1. Bodger

      He is certainly the public face of Tusla, appointed with some fanfare by Katherine Zappone following the Maurice McCabe scandal. If his views do not accord with Tusla’s perhaps he should say?

      1. Cú Chulainn

        Why wasn’t Tulsa disbanded after the Maurice McCabe (which was only one in a myriad) case/debacle..?

        1. Cian

          Technically it was.
          “Tulsa” (or it’s constituent parts Children & Family Services, the Family Support Agency, and the National Educational Welfare Board) was under HSE (thus Minister for Health) when the McCabe incident happened in 2013.
          It was carved out into it’s own agency in 2014 (under Minister for Children)

      2. Rosette of Sirius

        Indeed. I would be highly surprised if a policy decisions such as this would not have to go before the board for approval.

      3. Joe Small

        Maybe you don’t understand the role of a chairman? Its not a case of anyone’s views according with another’s. That’s not how complex organisations work.

  3. Joe

    Par for the course for anything associated with the joke labour party. Any decent ex politician of any hue would campaign against Tulsa’s assault on victims of such abuse!

  4. Barry the Hatchet

    This is obviously a problematic policy and I fully agree that it is not tenable. But Tusla is not wrong that this is a complicated legal space. It is the law that counsellors must report to Tusla where they have knowledge that a child is being harmed. It is the law that Tusla must act on foot of such reports in order to safeguard the welfare of children. It is the law that, where someone is accused of something, they have a right to fair procedures, which includes being informed of the identity of their accuser. Tusla did not create these laws, it merely acts within them. Rather than painting Tusla as some sort of evil organisation, the real questions should be for the government (and in particular the Minister for Children). What legislative changes can and will be made in order to deal with this?

    1. Do I need a username?


      Problem is most folks are not interested in this level of obvious nuance.

    2. Do I need a username?


      Problem is most folks are not interested in this level of obvious nuance.

    3. GiggidyGoo

      Having said that, what’s written above is ‘The child and family agency insist alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints and the identity of those making them’

      Now, on the other hand, if someone makes a complaint about someone gaming the dole system for instance, the Dept. can go ahead and investigate and accuse, without having to disclose the claimants name.

      1. Barry the Hatchet

        Well that’s an interesting one and, I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with the mechanics of the DSP tip-off procedure. But the DSP has been pretty roundly criticised in the recent past for not complying with fair procedures, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re trampling all over peoples’ rights. But there is also a substantive difference between the two examples in terms of the nature and consequences of the investigation being undertaken.

    4. :-Joe

      You’re almost making a fair point but you’re only half right as both can be true at the same time.

      Tusla is an establishment front buffer and ultimately a barrier or hurdle at best to justice for abuse victims.

      Seriously, read even just the comments by the actual experts on the front line above again…

      It’s bloody obvious that of all people and any organisations in the state, rabitte, tusla and zappone should be the ones demanding better legislation and kicking up the biggest and loudest fuss about it, but no, same establishment system protectionism and legal bs as usual.

      Why don’t you just do your f’ing job for once, follow your job description. i.e. As an elected politician or public servant you will be responsible for working on behalf of the public good. -Y’know, all those plebs who elected you to serve them, the public on their behalf?..

      It’s no surprise pat “establishment fathead” rabitte, traitor to any real concept of labour/workers rights and the people overall.. Is now the boring, useless mouthpiece running interference for the establishment on the public facing front line. All talk and no action.

      It’s all bs and it’s bad for you…

      :-J –

      1. Barry the Hatchet

        From what I gather, you’re saying Tusla is part of the establishment and therefore inherently problematic. I can’t say I agree with that viewpoint. But I do agree that politicians could be doing a better job (as I said above).

        When we see something in the system that we think is wrong, it’s important to raise our voices about it and demand better, as One In Four has done here. Share the article, write to your TDs, your local councillors, etc.

        But I think we would all do well to remember that it’s very easy to sit around on the internet and say “it’s all BS! Everything needs to be better!”. In practice, issues are often highly complex and nuanced and it is hard to get things right. How do we balance peoples’ competing rights? How do we ensure victims feel safe in seeking help, but also ensure that those who provide the help don’t sit on important information while preventable abuse continues? It’s a lot harder to answer these questions than it is to shout BS.

  5. Do I need a username?

    Does anyone not think that this policy is a direct result of the Maurice McCabe scandal, the man was hideously and unfairly accused?!

    Instead of decrying this new policy AND the Maurice McCabe scandal – perhaps posters might posit some suggestions? You can’t have it both ways.

  6. Charger Salmons

    Appointment as Chairperson of the Board of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla)Board Meeting

    Location:Dublin, with occasional meetings outside the Dublin area.

    Remuneration: €20,520

    Time Requirements:1 day per week. Minimum of 10 meetings per year.Each meeting lasts a half day and a half day preparation time is also required for meetings.The Chairperson attends quarterly meetings with the Minister and other ad-hoc meetings as required.

    A handy top up for his €2 million pension pot.

    1. Brother Barnabas

      on basis of €20,000 for 52 days work, it works out at around €50 an hour – hardly all that handy

      for comparison’s sake, your principle hobby costs you – what? – €150 for an hour, €100 for half an hour

      rabbite’s gig wouldnt even cover that

      1. Charger Salmons

        The fact the advertisment stipulates a minimum of 10 meetings a year would suggest they do not meet on a weekly basis.
        I do not spend €150 an hour on gin and Cuban cigars.
        €75 tops.

  7. Do I need a username?

    Usual go-to off the shelf childish cynicism. See Barry the Hatchet’s response above.

  8. jamesjoist

    This is a legal minefield . Thankfully I
    was never enmeshed in dreadful consequences of child sex-abuse as a victim or the parent of a victim .
    I have to say not telling the alleged perpetrator smacks of ambush tactics to me . Also, there is a sort of Kafkaesque feel to proceedings where allegations are found to be untrue and the alleged perpetrator is found to be innocent, without their awareness of ever being investigated.
    I think the adage ‘ justice must be seen to be done ‘ should hold sway .

  9. Paul Anderson

    TUSLA do not even investigate Parental Alienation where children are emotionally abused
    They are unfit for purpose full stop!

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