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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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Girl, 16, placed in secure care over fears that she could be sexually exploited

It is understood the girl, who went missing recently, was involved with an older man.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl who was considered vulnerable to sexual exploitation has been found by gardaí and placed in a secure care unit for troubled teenagers, it was confirmed today.

The High Court, which heard she had been engaged in life-threatening behaviour, had directed that she be taken into care.

Court reporters had been asked to withhold publicity until she was found as it had been feared she would leave the country.

A care order had been sought by the Child and Family Agency over concerns that the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been taking drugs and alcohol and was also “involved with an older man”.

Her association with the older man was a cause of great concern, the High Court heard.  Lawyers for the CFA said the girl had a history of going missing for days.

Those charged with her care also feared she had been making attempts to leave the country with him.

The court was told that the girl had recently required to be treated at a hospital for injuries, including a mark on her neck, the reasons for which the girl refused to explain.

Secure environment needed

Seeking the care order, lawyers for the Child and Family Agency told the court the girl needed to be placed in a secure care environment where she could be kept safe and away from the influence of the older man in her life.  She will now receive the therapeutic services she requires, the state agency added.

The girl had previously been placed in non-secure placements which had not worked and recently had been living with her father.  That too had not been successful and she had gone missing on a number of occasions. She had refused to properly engage with care services.

Last week Mr Justice Anthony Barr had directed the care placement and had granted the gardaí power to locate her and bring her to the secure care facility. Her case was dealt with ex-parte and will will return before the court later this month.

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Aodhan O'Faolain & Ray Managh

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