31/03/2010

Irish Sex Crime Unit On Way

The Irish Republic's police force is to establish a specialist unit to deal with the management of sexual offences.

The move comes as the Irish Catholic Cardinal Sean Brady continues to say he will only resign if requested to do so by the Pope over his role in a deal where children abused by convicted sex offender Fr Brendan Smyth were forced to take a vow of silence.

The Gardaí Commissioner (pictured) announced his plans to establish a Sexual Crime Management Unit to deal with sexual abuse incidents this week.

He said it will look at cases such as those exposed in the Ryan and Murphy Reports, which revealed widespread clerical abuse of children.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors yesterday, Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said the Ryan Commission to inquire into Child Abuse and the Murphy Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin had highlighted a "shameful history" of child sexual abuse in Ireland.

Commissioner Murphy said the community was now looking for answers as to how such abuse occurred and An Garda Síochána had to ask its own "searching questions" over the manner in which some complaints were investigated.
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The commissioner said it was the duty of the Gardaí to investigate fully all incidents of sexual crime and child abuse reported to them and that as a result of a recent review, which precipitated updating all existing guidance and directives on the area, Gardaí would be establishing a Sexual Crime Management Unit within the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit.

Mr Murphy said: "Each year this Unit will evaluate a number of investigations of child sexual abuse, child neglect and other sexual offences to ensure they are receiving appropriate attention and being brought to a prompt conclusion.

"The Unit will also be focused on assisting and advising members in the investigation of such crimes and in promoting best investigative practice in line with international standards.

"The unit will also maintain a record of all complaints of clerical sexual abuse and will interact as appropriate with contact points in these agencies who are in a position and have a responsibility to report complaints of sexual abuse to An Garda Síochána."

The Commissioner added that An Garda Siochána had a responsibility to address problems effectively when they arise, commence investigations and "travel the road that those investigations take us regardless of where it leads".

See: Cardinal Resists Abuse Resignation Call

(DW/BMcC)

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