Martin McGuinness writes to An Taoiseach and Peter Robinson on establishment of support mechanisms for abuse
Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness MLA who is also the deputy First Minister has today written to Peter Robinson and Enda Kenny outlining proposals on mechanisms to establish, through the North South Ministerial Council, an all-island process to deal with the issue of support for those who were victims of sexual abuse during the conflict.
Below is a full transcript of the two letters.
The recent public discussion around sexual abuse has brought very sharply into the public focus the fact that, some victims of abuse sought to have their allegations dealt with through mechanisms other than the established, statutory channels. Others felt unable to seek support or justice from any channel.
There is very clearly a need for this society to deal with this issue.
For this reason, I propose the establishment – through the North South Ministerial Council - of an all-island process to deal with the issue of support mechanisms for those who were victims of sexual abuse during the conflict. This initiative must be fully resourced by the Executive here and the Irish Government.
The objective would be to:
• support victims of abuse in all communities,
• to ensure greater access to counselling and other supports for victims
• and to facilitate victims and survivors in accessing the justice system and making official complaints.
Survivors must be empowered to access these services and all parties should do everything possible to ensure those survivors who want to come forward feel safe in doing so.
The anonymity and confidentiality of victims and survivors who may not wish to be identified must be acknowledged and protected.
Thus in addition I believe consideration should also be given to promotion of either existing help lines to deal with this matter, or the establishment of dedicated ‘hot lines’ North and South to facilitate victims and survivors who wish to come forward.
Survivors of sexual abuse and rape deserve acknowledgement, support and justice. Perpetrators of abuse need to be subject to the law and brought before the courts.
Victims and survivors have a right to truth and justice.
I hope that you will support me in this call for such a cross border initiative to be established as a matter of priority.
Look forward to hearing from you soon.