Developments in the political arena in Northern Ireland and implications for Redress and the HIAI recommendations

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, made a number of announcements on the 6 September 2018 concerning the political impasse in Northern Ireland.  While the cut to the pay of the MLAs made the headlines it was the discussion about the role of the Civil Service and decision making powers that may be of significantly greater relevance. Continue reading

Media reporting and abuse investigation

The decision to award Sir Cliff Richard a significant sum for a breach of his right to privacy comes at a moment when issues of false allegations and the way sexual assault cases are to be investigated and prosecuted is to the fore in any event.  Continue reading

‘Up-skirting’ to be made a criminal offence

In September 2017 we reported on the issue of ‘up-skirting’ – the practice of taking a picture up the skirt or dress of a woman or girl in public, sometimes as part of a programme of harassment by the person taking the picture,  often occurring without the victim ever being aware. The photos are then often circulated to others invading the privacy of, distressing and humiliating whomever is in the picture.  At the time it was noted that this was an example of where the law had not caught up with the misuse of technology.  However, today the government has indicated that it will support a private members bill – the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2018 – to make the practice a criminal offence in England and Wales.  The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 15 June 2018 and it is understood to have cross party support.   Continue reading

Impact of the Arc21 Judical Review on the Redress preparations

It is not immediately apparent how a judgement in a judicial review over a planning consent could have any impact on the Redress preparations being made in Stormont following the recommendations of Sir Anthony Hart in the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry.  However there could be significant consequences creating even greater confusion in the situation as it stands.

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HIAI report anniversary

Saturday 20th January marks the first anniversary of the publication of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Report.  The report was published having been delivered to The Executive Office (formerly The Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers) as it was required to do. Continue reading

The long road to mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse in the Republic of Ireland

The Commission to inquire into child abuse in the Republic of Ireland published its report (commonly known as The Ryan Report) on the 20 May 2009.

One of the recommendations of that report was that Children First: The National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children should be uniformly and consistently implemented throughout the state in dealing with allegations of abuse. The guidelines assisted people in recognising child abuse and neglect, and in reporting reasonable concerns but it did not amount to mandatory reporting.

Following the publication of the Ryan Report, the Irish Government prepared and published a detailed Implementation Plan in July 2009.

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Vicarious liability – an ever moving target

One of the most difficult challenges when responding to claims for damages consequent upon sexual abuse is trying to determine who is potentially liable for payment of claims, provision of care or other rehabilitation services.

It is clear that anyone who abuses another person will bear personal responsibility but they are often not a real target for reparations as they often have limited assets or, as in many non-recent cases, they have died or cannot be located.

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