Three-quarters of 13-15-year-olds assisted by a specialist service for children who suspect they were sexually abused said their alleged perpetrator was someone outside the family.
The CARI 2018 annual report said that many of these teens presented with a concern of sexual abuse/assault after a “social event with a groups of peers”.
It said: “These events commonly involving intoxicating substance use. This led to some memory loss and confusion”.
This is the story of Alison, a mother who availed of CARI aftercare service and relayed her daughter’s experience of sexual assault.
The report said that CARI supported her over several months.
“CARI Aftercare support worker contacted Alison, who is mother to Anna, 13-years-old. Anna had come home from school one day excited as she was invited out with a group of friends from her new school.
Anna was going into town with her new friends, for 1pm and would return by 6pm. Anna, who would generally be very reliable and keep with rules and communicate with her parents when out, failed to contact them this particular afternoon.
When Alison hadn’t heard from her daughter by the afternoon, she tried calling but her phone was off. At 7.30pm, with no sign of Anna, Alison contacted the police.
Later that night, the police had received a call from a woman walking her dog. She had found Anna lying unconscious in a field. This area is well known for young groups to hang out.
Alison cried through the call with the despair she felt when she called police, not knowing where Anna was. Anna was brought home by police and put to bed. She was semi-conscious and there was a smell of alcohol.
It was obvious that Anna’s clothes had been removed. Gardaí suggested mum contact the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) in the morning.
When Anna woke up the next morning, she was extremely confused, upset and having flashbacks of the previous evening. She explained to her num what happened.
Alison was extremely upset on the call, as she said her daughter had been sexually assaulted.
Alison brought Anna for a forensic examination. Two Gardaí accompanied them to the unit.
They were met with the forensic nurse, doctor and a CARI Forensic Accompaniment Officer.
The accompaniment officer supported the family for the duration of the appointment.”
“The following morning when Anna woke, she had confided in her mother what happened. Anna had met with her group of friends from school.
They went into town and some of the boys and girls had brought drink with them. Anna drank some of the alcohol.
Later that afternoon they got the bus back to their town where they hung out. She cannot remember much after that until she woke up in her own bed.
Later that evening she began to have flashbacks of her top been taken off by one of the boys and her trousers been pulled down.
“When Anna returned to school one of her friends had told her that everyone was talking about her.”