A 15-year-old girl who was attacked and raped will have to wait ‘at least two months’ before she gets any trauma counselling.
Her mother has spoken out after claiming she was informed that despite her teenage daughter’s horrific ordeal she is at the back of a lengthy queue for therapy.
The teenager, who we are not identifying due to her age, suffered the brutal assault in March close to her home in Dublin.
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A suspect has been arrested but gardai have told the victim’s family it may take up to two years before the case is dealt with in court.
Her mother claimed child and family agency Tusla told her there was only one centre – St Clare’s in Blanchardstown – with “80 people ahead of my daughter on the waiting list”.
She told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “We have been told by Tusla… it will take a minimum of two months before she gets a date to begin counselling.
“We need proper services in this country for our children. Services tell me it’s okay to be angry, but that this is how it is.
“Our lives have been torn apart and my beautiful daughter will live in fear knowing [her attacker] walks the streets living his best life for at least two years.”
She added: “We can’t opt for private counselling for a number of reasons. Her age states we must go through Tusla referral.”
The distraught mum, who has spent 20 years working as a carer, said she felt disgusted at the way the health service was now treating her family.
She said: “I’m a single mother with three girls and the cost of counselling privately is shockingly high, it’s a constant hitting of brick walls for all these victims.
“I have had well over 100 messages from victims and families all in the same situation. I will continue to fight with every breath to get her the help,”
A spokesman for Tusla said all referrals were “screened and assessed as appropriate” in line with National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children.
He added: “The initial response is to ensure there are no immediate risks to the safety of the child referred…
“Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we can confirm that if a child or young person has been sexually assaulted, access to assessment and therapeutic services are critical.
“In the Dublin region, these specialist supports are available through Childrens Health Ireland, Blanchardstown (St. Clare’s) and Tallaght (St. Louise’s).
“In circumstances where there are delays in a child/young person accessing these supports, Tusla will liaise with the service and advocate on behalf of the child/young person to ensure they are seen as soon as possible and to support the family in any way we can.”
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