Child victims of sex abuse must be jointly interviewed by HSE and Garda staff in a timely way and more interagency co-operation is needed in the area of child protection, Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan said.
The child protection watchdog said while there had been improvements in this area, she would still like to see a dedicated child protection service within An Garda Síochána.
Gardaí told the Ombudsman they had made it a priority to have interviewers available when required to facilitate timely interviewing of victims and delays in this regard are not allowed.
Ms Logan yesterday published a report reviewing how arms of the State had responded to an 18-month investigation into the implementation of Children First guidelines, and after which she made a series of recommendations.
In the initial report she had strongly recommended that joint liaison structures be established between the HSE and gardaí in all areas where they are outstanding.
The HSE and gardaí reported that liaison at senior level had been greatly enhanced since the establishment of the national office for children and family services, and the centralised Garda domestic violence and sexual assault unit.
The ombudsman had previously highlighted that Garda child protection notifications were not being completed, and that this was a serious matter.
She noted that there were regular meetings to develop interagency co-operation, but that an external review would ensure that the issue of interagency working was strengthened.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet with Ms Logan today to discuss the timing of the children’s rights referendum. He came under fire in the Dáil for failing to set a date for the poll but denied this signalled the Government was putting its election pledge on the issue on the backburner.
Ms Logan is urging him to hold the long-awaited referendum in the autumn.
Mr Kenny insisted the Government had not reneged on a pledge to hold the referendum during its first year in office as it was not known at the time that an EU poll would also have to factored in.
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