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O' Dowd critical of Government delay on sexual abuse report after Barnardo's case

24 June, 2004

Sinn Féin's health spokesperson, John O' Dowd has said the recent verdict in the Barnardos carers case highlights the urgent need for a Government strategy covering the needs of Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Earlier this year Mr O Dowd criticised a government decision to postpone publication, until June 2005 at the earliest, of a consultation document regarding proposals for services for the survivors of sexual abuse.

Mr O'Dowd said,

"There can be no valid reason for such a lengthy delay in progressing this issue given the recent court cases this surely should be any Governments priority.

" Des Browne, the former direct-rule Minister for Health, had already brought forward a number of proposals in relation to the commissioning of this report to establish the full extent of sexual abuse in the Six Counties several months ago.

"Yet following repeated calls on the Department of Health by Sinn Féin, it appears that we are no closer to having any effectively audited actions taken in order to determine the real extent of the long-term problems caused by sexual abuse, or to identify ways and means of providing properly resourced services for the survivors of such abuse.

"This delay will do nothing to alleviate the ever growing waiting list of survivors of such abuse who wish to access proper counselling", said Mr O‚Dowd, "I am sure that survivors of abuse, their relatives, and those in support groups such as Nexus, will be extremely disappointed and frustrated, if not angry, at this unnecessary delay. " ENDS

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