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Laura Hutton/

Girl who reported sexual abuse by brother two years ago still waiting on counselling, court hears

The now 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty to the oral rape of his sister at the family home on dates between 2018 and 2021.

THE CENTRAL CRIMINAL Court has heard that a girl who called gardaí two years ago to report her older brother was sexually abusing her is still on a waiting list for counselling.

The now 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, pleaded guilty to the oral rape of his sister at the family home on dates between 2018 and 2021. He has no previous convictions.

The girl was aged between 9 and 12 years old at the time, and the boy between 11 and 14 years old when he committed the offences. The children now live separately with a parent each.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott had noted at the boy’s sentence hearing that he had a “plethora” of reports before him in relation to the boy and asked what was happening in relation to the girl.

Her father told the court the girl is on a waiting list for counselling and is too young for counselling at the Rape Crisis Centre. He said services for the girl seem to have been “put on the long finger”.

The court heard the abuse, which partly occurred during the Covid lockdown, took place in the boy’s locked bedroom. He had started offending after watching pornography online out of curiosity.

Mr Justice McDermott commended the extraordinary bravery of the young girl who had the courage to call for help in the early hours of the morning and then answer the door to the gardaí.

“What a lonely, vulnerable, exposed position to be in,” he said, noting her brother had made threats to her if she revealed what was occurring.

He told the boy he might not fully appreciate it, but the girl had made the right decision for herself, the family and from the boy’s point of view. 

“She just wanted the abuse to stop and the pain to go away,” he said. 

The judge said the victim’s impact statement was very sad and moving from a child of her age, and it was clear she was very damaged and hurt by what had happened. 

He said she had no counselling, psychiatric assessment or support – apart from her parents – in dealing with the trauma and facing into the court process. 

He said the reports before the court in relation to the boy were appropriate and helpful but noted the absence of professional support for the girl “is in marked contrast” to the boy and his difficulties. 

“I have to concentrate on what to do about you,” he told the boy, who sat in the witness box at the top of the courtroom at the request of the judge, who spoke directly to him. 

He told the boy there was “no doubt” he knew what he was doing was wrong, noting it occurred in the early hours of the morning and that he made her feel she would get into trouble. 

The judge said there was some suggestion that the boy did not have a full appreciation of the damage done to his sister and that more work needed to be done. He said there was also a suggestion he did not know it was wrong, noting the contrast with his younger sister, who was only too well aware it was wrong. 

The judge told him he was in a very serious situation, and if he were an adult, the court would be looking at 10 to 15 years imprisonment as a starting point. 

He noted issues relating to the boy, such as challenging behaviour at home and cannabis use. He said that on any assessment, he was a young man in need of intensive supervision and guidance. He set a headline sentence of six years detention.

The judge said there was very significant mitigation in the form of the boy’s open admissions, early guilty plea and expressions of remorse. 

He said the boy also had one hugely positive factor in his favour in that he was still viewed as a member of his family. He said this was very strong support and a determining factor in his sentencing. “You are very blessed that happened,” said the judge. 

“They love you both and want to do best for you in clearly very difficult circumstances,” he said. 

Justice McDermott said the boy had to make up his mind to take responsibility for his actions and said he was going to give him a chance to make positive choices. 


He imposed a sentence of three years and years months detention but deferred the sentence for one year. He told the boy that if he does not abide by the conditions set by the court, he will serve the sentence. 

The conditions include probation supervision, addiction counselling, safety supervision plans and securing employment. “Basically, do what you are told, no if buts or maybes,” he told the boy. 

“Taking you away from your family and not giving you this opportunity does not seem the right thing to do,” said the judge. “With everyone’s help, things may move positively into the future.” 

Eileen O’Leary SC, defending, said reports described the accused as having limited intellectual ability, which was highly relevant to his culpability. She submitted that the court had to take into account his level of immaturity, which was compounded by his low IQ and learning difficulties. 

O’Leary submitted that this was one of the exceptional cases where the court could consider a suspended sentence, noting detention was a measure of last resort for juveniles. 

“There is nothing to be achieved by incarcerating this child,” said O’Leary.