Urgent psychiatric assessment on vulnerable woman brought forward following concerns

A psychiatric assessment is to be carried out tomorrow on a vulnerable young woman allegedly subjected to sexual abuse as a child by several people before she was taken into care at the age of 10.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, was told today an early appointment for the 18-year-old had been made after he had urged on Monday that it be carried out this week.

The court heard on Monday an appointment had been scheduled for the end of April but the judge expressed his concern after the woman had engaged in self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

She is a ward of court because she lacks the capacity to look after her own affairs.

As a result, the General Solicitor for wards of court is responsible for her.

Her mother and grandfather are facing criminal proceedings arising from she made allegations against them.

The care unit she is currently in is unsuitable for her needs but the General Solicitor and her court-appointed guardian were concerned there should be an adult psychiatric assessment before there is any change to her situation, the court has heard.

The need for urgent assessment arose after a recent event where the young woman left her care unit and was later taken to hospital by a garda after she told him she had engaged in self-harm and expressed suicidal thoughts.

The judge was very concerned she was discharged from that hospital’s accident and emergency department without having had a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation.

She was seen by an A&E psychiatric liaison nurse and discharged, accompanied by staff from her care unit, because she was adamant she would not stay in hospital.

The judge was concerned the General Solicitor and the court were not informed “forthwith” of the hospital incident.

Today, he said if there is any change in her regime or move to a hospital by the HSE, then the General Solicitor must be informed.

Sarah Moorehead SC, for the General Solicitor, said matters had deteriorated somewhat in relation to the woman taking her medication.

She had also lodged a deed poll application to change her name.

There was concern she was "allowed control people around her rather than the other way round", counsel said.

Ms Moorehead said the General Solicitor was also seeking an order to access District Court documentation in relation to care orders which were made for the woman in the past.

Mr Justice Kelly said an application should be made to the District Court for that information as he did not wish to interfere with the jurisdiction of another court.

After being told the report on tomorrow's assessment could be brought back to court next Tuesday, the judge was not happy with this and wanted it ready for Friday given there was a bank holiday weekend ahead.

He was told the woman's court-appointed guardian will accompany her to the psychiatric appointment.

He adjourned the matter to Friday.

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