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lefroy house

Allegation of sexual assault made at homeless hostel for minors

Lefroy House is based on Eden Quay in Dublin City Centre and is run by the Salvation Army.

AN ALLEGATION OF sexual assault was made at a children’s only hostel in Dublin city centre, has learned.

The complainant reported the incident at Lefroy House – a nighttime-only hostel for youths based on the quays – in the past two years. 

Lefroy House is based on Eden Quay in Dublin City Centre and is run by the Salvation Army. It is an emergency night service which provides shelter to young people. 

The centre’s capacity is for seven young people, male and female, aged between 12 and 18 who are homeless, out of placement or unable to return to family. 

While Lefroy House caters for seven children at any given time, around 100 minors have used the facility in the past two years.

During a particularly tumultuous time at the centre last year, gardaí were called to the property at least 17 times in a four-month period. The calls were made for various reasons, including minors acting in an intimidatory or violent manner. 

Separately to those 17 incidents, documents seen by show how an allegation of sexual abuse was made by a service user at the centre. It is understood the allegation was made by one child about another. 

There is no suggestion that anyone who works or volunteers at the centre was involved in any wrongdoing. 

Allegations of sexual abuse within National Children’s Residential Services are reported to what is known as the Significant Event Notification (SEN) team and Tusla. It is not known if the allegation was forwarded to gardaí or if a statement was made by the alleged victim to the authorities. 

A Salvation Army spokeswoman said: “We would like to reassure the public that we take the responsibility of safeguarding seriously and fully understand that it takes a lot of courage to come forward. Any concerns around safeguarding are investigated thoroughly and we actively encourage people to report their concerns to the police and contact our safeguarding unit.” sought clarification from Tusla regarding the date of the incident and if gardaí were notified. In response, the Child and Family Agency said it could not comment on individual cases. 

Children as young as 12 have availed of Lefroy House’s services. Currently, children can stay overnight but have to leave in the morning – and return at 5pm if they need shelter on subsequent nights. A number of previous clients have asked for the centre to open all day instead.

Inspection reports of the centre are carried out by Tusla every year. The 2017 report – the most recent available – shows that the standard of significant event recording and reporting was “generally competent”.

Responding to queries, Tusla said: “Tusla is satisfied that all reports of sexual abuse claims within Lefroy House have been made (there are no outstanding incidents of alleged abuse which have not been notified to Tusla), there is appropriate oversight of this unit and all reports made, as with other residential units.

“The investigation of sexual abuse claims are carried out on an individual basis by the child protection and welfare social work teams, and resolution of these reports can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual complaint.”

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