Minister requests report on alleged rape at care center
The Disability Minister has asked the Health Service Executive for a report into allegations that a woman with special needs was sexually abused and raped in a residential facility during lockdown.
Anne Rabbitte, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Health, met the young woman’s mother and an advocacy group supporting her family.
The minister is said to have raised a number of questions regarding the protection of residents of the center and how concerns about the wife raised by his family were treated.
The abuse allegedly took place at a designated center for people with disabilities. the woman was allegedly abused by a male member of staff for an extended period during the Covid-19 pandemic, and at a time when her family had limited access to her.
She is believed to have disclosed the abuse to her family late last year after being released from the facility.
The allegations are being investigated by the Garda Protective Services Unit.
Advocacy group Care Champions asked that the facility not be identified in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
However, it is understood that the service is run by a voluntary provider funded by the HSE.
The facility where the abuse allegedly took place specializes in the care of people with disabilities. Visits to these centers were canceled or reduced for most of the time following the introduction of Covid restrictions in March 2020.
Gardaí has confirmed that an allegation of sexual assault at a nursing home is being investigated.
Majella Beattie of Care Champions confirmed the meeting with the Minister last week, calling it “productive and useful”.
It is understood the minister has asked the HSE for a report on the case and has raised a number of questions about the protection of residents.
The Irish Association of Social Workers highlighted concerns about the protection of vulnerable people living in residential services.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which regulates the service, highlighted further failures in protecting vulnerable adults in a recent report.
The report highlighted concerns about a resident with a developmental disability who allegedly viewed child sex abuse footage online.
The regulator has raised serious concerns about the management of HSE services and said HIQA inspectors did not receive assurance that the incident had been properly handled.
Ms Rabbitte is now calling for an independent review of disability services in the North West.