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Dignity4Patients - Press Statement 31.07.2022

Dignity4Patients delighted with agreed settlement between victim survivors and the insurers of the Medical Missionaries of Mary and emphasise their call for a Commission of Investigation into sexual abuse in healthcare

As Ireland’s only dedicated patient sexual abuse Support, Information and Advocacy service, Dignity4Patients continues to support and advocate for victim-survivors of sexual abuse in Ireland’s Healthcare Service. Recent decisions by the insurers of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, who ran Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, to finally agree to a settlement with victim-survivors is very welcome news. Adrienne Reilly CEO states “Our thoughts today are with the victim-survivors of sexual abuse who are finally receiving some acknowledgement of the pain and suffering committed against them as children. Dignity4Patients welcomes the recent news of the Medical Missionaries of Mary and their insurers (Allianz) compensating those it failed to protect while under their care.” For decades victims have been ignored, silenced and have had to endure the distress of delayed justice to reach this point.

Adrienne Reilly CEO says, “while we welcome the news of an agreed settlement for our victims and survivors any settlement needs to be proper, fair and reasonable to all concerned, who have not only endured the trauma of sexual abuse, but the injustice of delays to receiving restorative justice measures and reparation.” Compensation is only one means of restorative justice and Dignity4Patients firmly believes acknowledgement of the crimes committed and holding to account those responsible for committing or allowing sexual crimes to go unchecked is a key ask of victims-survivors on their journey to healing. The majority of Dignity4Patients victim-survivors were abused as children between 1964 to 1996 in health care settings. It took some of them decades to come forward as adults due to the trauma and failures of the legal and reporting systems. It has taken decades more for very few of our clients to achieve criminal prosecution or civil remedies for the crimes against them. Adrienne Reilly CEO says, “protracted criminal or civil processes add to the pain, suffering, re-traumatisation and secondary victimisation of victims. Our legal system must expedite criminal and civil remedies for victims of sexual abuse to mitigate this secondary trauma.” No victim of a crime of sexual abuse, particularly those committed against children, should have to endure decades of uncertainly surrounding court hearings and the prospect of meeting their abuser on the street while justice is delayed. Under the EU Victims Directive there is an obligation on Member States to ensure minimisation of secondary victimisation throughout the legal process, including tailored services for those at particular risk including victims and survivors of sexual abuse . Adrienne Reilly CEO says, “Dignity4Patients has for years tailored its services to avoid the secondary victimisation victim-survivors, the EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights recognises the value of services like Dignity4Patients to support and assist in the healing process.” Once again though in 2022, there have been further reports of sexual abuse of patients occurring in Ireland which concerns both Dignity4Patients and those that engage with our service. Adrienne Reilly CEO reveals “we are deeply concerned that cases of patient sexual abuse, are still being hidden from public view by failure of proper management reporting, use of non-disclosure agreements in investigations, private/closed compensation settlements, and confidentiality clauses silencing victims from speaking out publicly. These tools used by healthcare providers continue to hide the true scale of patient sexual abuse in Ireland.”

Today, Dignity4Patients, on behalf of all victims and survivors, is calling on the government and the Minister for Health and Minister for Justice, to establish a Commission of Investigation into sexual abuse of patients in the Irish health service. This Inquiry should include claims of abuse stretching back over decades and inadequate safeguarding by institutions and organisations responsible for patient welfare and safety.

Press Contact:

Adrienne Reilly CEO

Telephone : 083 088 6301



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