It Ends Now – Too Many Children at Risk in Direct Provision
Tuesday, 30 June: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Children’s Rights Alliance is delighted to welcome the Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers, published today by the Government. This eagerly-awaited Report reflects many of the issues raised directly by the Children’s Rights Alliance and its members.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Today’s Report tells us that direct provision is responsible for a slew of child protection and safety gaps, including exposing children inappropriately to adult sexuality and increasing their risk of sexual abuse and grooming. The system alienates too many children from having a normal childhood and is the direct cause of many welfare concerns. On so many levels, direct provision grossly violates children’s precious rights. Direct provision, as we know it, must now end.”
Tanya Ward continues: “I am proud to say that the recommendations in this report will, if acted upon, radically change children’s lives. But the Government needs to move to make these recommendations real.
The recommendations seek to transform multiple aspects of children’s lives. New, approved standards on direct provision centres will be developed and an inspectorate will be established. There will be a long overdue increase to the weekly payment per child from €9.60 to €29.80. Critically, children will be able to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children if their rights are breached.
Children will be safer thanks to a range of measures to address child protections risks, including grooming and sexually abuse. Children will be better supported in the health, mental health and education systems. This summer, there will be a national consultation by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs where children will be asked directly about their lives in direct provision.
The Children’s Rights Alliance would like to acknowledge and thank the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD and the Minister of State with special responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD for their innovative approach to this Working Group. We also commend Judge Bryan McMahon for his excellent stewardship as Chairperson.
The Working Group was unique because all the players brought something to the table – Government departments and agencies, including the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla. Direct provision residents themselves, the UNHCR, NGOs and the independent working group members also worked hard to come up with solid solutions. An in-depth consultation process took place, including field trips to direct provision centres. Many groups submitted reports from consultations with frontline service providers working with children. The Report is undoubtedly stronger as a result and we commend all players for contributing to this trailblazing approach to public policy.”
Notes to Editor
- Tanya Ward Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, a member of the Working Group, is available for interview.
- The Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers report can be found on the Department of Justice Website http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Working_Group_on_Improvements_to_the_Protection_Process
- A summary of the child/youth related content is available here.
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: 087 655 9067 / (01) 662 9400