Survivors of abuse in Defence Forces must have anonymity protected when making disclosures – Sorca Clarke TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence, Sorca Clarke TD, has welcomed the announcement of a new reporting mechanism for survivors of abuse and harassment in the Defence Forces, but warned that disclosures must be fully confidential to protect anonymity and restore confidence.
Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:
“I want to again commend the Women of Honour group and all survivors who have come forward to bravely tell their stories. Abuse and harassment are totally unacceptable in any workplace and we must show zero tolerance as a society.
“I welcome Minister Coveney’s announcement of a Confidential Contact Person for survivors of abuse, harassment and bullying within the Defence Forces.
“In order for the system to be viable, it is absolutely crucial that all reports are totally anonymous.
“Steps have to be taken to ensure no disclosures make their way back to military management without prior agreement from survivors. It is imperative that robust mechanisms be put in place to ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of the person making disclosures.
“This development must be just one step on the longer journey to ensuring that all Defence Forces personnel feel safe and respected at work.
“It is clear that much more needs to be done to ensure confidence can be restored. All staff should be able to have confidence that sufficient mechanisms are in place to protect them and to deal appropriately with any complaints if they arise.
“I will continue to hold the Minister to account on this and ensure that these steps are followed through. Survivors’ needs and concerns must be central to any processes.”