Teen in danger of domestic violence ‘needs secure unit’

A 17-year-old girl who is at high risk of being subjected to domestic violence requires to be placed in a secure unit for trouble teens, the High Court has heard.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Faherty after being informed of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) very serious concern about the teen’s welfare, made orders placing the girl at the secure facility in Dublin, well away from her current location.

The judge heard the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has a difficult family background and had been in various care placements which had not worked out. She has been in the care of Tusla for some time.

Recently, she had come under the controlling influence of an older male who the court heard had assaulted her on several occasions. She had also been abusing alcohol and drugs, the court heard.

Arising out of fears for her well being, Tusla, represented by Barry O’Donnell BL, secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to place the girl at a secure unit for teens. The order was secured on an ex-parte basis.

At the unit the teen will be given access to the care and counselling services she requires, and it would also allow her to escape from the influence of the violent older male, counsel said.

The judge also made an order appointing a legal guardian to the teen.

Counsel said a number of parties that had come into contact with the girl, including the gardaí, had expressed their concerns about the girl’s welfare. Counsel said the teen had disengaged from services some time ago. She had been staying at various locations, including at the older male’s residence.

She had been violently assaulted by the male, had suffered injuries requiring medical treatment, and has been unable to get away from him. Despite being assaulted by him shereturned to him.

Counsel said the male was using emotional blackmail to ensure she would not leave him.

The judge, who said she was satisfied to make the orders sought by Tusla, adjourned the case until September 22.


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