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'Treatment for sexualised behaviour in young children is urgently needed'

A significant proportion of referrals to CARI in recent years are in the under-12 age group.

Image: Shutterstock/Kamira

CALLS TO HELPLINE for rape and sexual assault have continued to rise since 2012, up 43%.

Launching its annual report today, CARI (Children at Risk in Ireland), a voluntary provider of therapy to children, families and groups affected by child sexual abuse, says it has noticed that in many of these cases, both the victim and the alleged perpetrators were teenagers.

CEO Mary Flaherty says this is a particular “disturbing” aspect of the report.

“…teenagers report being further traumatised by the fact that these assaults were viewed and discussed by their peers on social media sites, which often led to the isolation and bullying of the victims.”

Flaherty said this needs to be tackled and recommends an intervention / prevention approach in dealing with these issues.

“Such interventions and preventions include the implementation of a national education programme for teachers and parents. This uniform approach has the potential to provide a dual supportive approach in meeting the needs of children and parents.”

She added that a treatment programme for sexualised behaviour in young children is urgently needed.

A significant proportion of referrals to CARI in recent years are for such behaviours in the under-12 age group.

CARI states that the lack of services in 2014 is a “shocking scandal” adding that timely access to therapy is critical if young people are to recover.

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