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Sinn Féin leader welcomes announcement of additional resources for Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs)

28 March, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the additional funding announced this morning for the state’s six sexual assault treatment units adding that the extra resources are urgently needed to provide for the 20% increase in persons presenting to the units.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Victims of sexual assault are entitled to the provision of fully resourced specialised care. Staff across all of the six units must be commended for their compassion and professionalism, but the reality is these units are not adequately resourced. This results in victims sometimes not getting the care they urgently need in the unit nearest to them and long waits for treatment.

“Whilst we await publication of the policy review the intended provision of additional forensic nurse and medical examiners through new funding for two extra training programmes is welcome news.

“We expect the policy review to be published later today to say that services are seriously under pressure and demand for the service is increasing. Responses to my parliamentary questions received this month show presentations to the units increased by just over 20% between 2015 and 2017. Figures for 2018 were not yet available.

“Although all of the six units in Dublin, Mullingar, Galway, Letterkenny, Cork and Waterford stated aim is to provide a 24/7/365 service we know from victims experiences that this has not always been the case due to staff shortages. The creation of rapid responder forensic examiners who will travel to patients in the unit nearest to them when staff shortages occur is a welcome innovation.

“It is important that this process of review be undertaken on a regular basis to ensure that resources are matching needs across all of the sexual assault treatment units. Future reviews must also consider the provision of additional units if demand continues to increase.”

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