Galway’s Sexual Assault Treatment Unit for Children and Adolescents is closed once again, this time since the end of February.
I have tabled a Dáil Question in this regard for next Wednesday.
Catherine Connolly, TD-1st April 2016.
Press Statement on the 1st April from Catherine Connolly, TD.
The Closure once again of the Sexual Assault Treatment for Children in Galway which assessed/treated 70 children alone in 2015 is not acceptable said Deputy Connolly and must be reopened immediately with a commitment given by the HSE West to have meaningful talks with medical staff.
Deputy Catherine Connolly said it is simply unacceptable that Galway’s Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (CASATS) closed for a second time this year from the end of February 2016 and child victims of sexual violence will have to travel to Dublin or elsewhere for assessment
The unit which opened its 24 hour service in Galway in 2011 is absolutely essential she said given the prevalence of sexual assault and violence in the community-statistics which unfortunately have been repeated confirmed in various reports.
Moreover in the annual report on the National Adult Sexual Assault Treatment Units nationally for 2014 and published in June last year, the Medical Director of these services ‘remained seriously concerned about areas of the country with limited infrastructure and staffing to care for this vulnerable population’ and these concerns were expressed when the Child and Adolescent and Sexual Assault Treatment Service was open!
Given this background and given the enormous effort it took to have the unit opened in the first place, it beggars belief said Deputy Connolly that meaningful discussions between the medical staff and the HSW West cannot continue while this very specialized and essential unit remains open.
Unfortunately at this point rather than moving forward and examining the construction of a permanent premises in Merlin Park rather than renting premises in an industrial estate, the HSE West she said have taken a retrograde step and allowed the closure once again of this essential service which last year alone assessed/treated 70 children from Galway and eleven other counties in the West and Midwest.
Councillor Connolly said she has now tabled a Dáil question for Wednesday of next week in relation to the matter including asking the Minister for Health to make a statement with a view to resolving the issues and reopening the unit immediately.