St. Clare’s Unit is an assessment and therapy service based in CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown for children, young people and their families where sexual abuse is a concern. The catchment area includes North Dublin, Blanchardstown and Clonee. The unit comprises a team of social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists and administrative support.
We meet families from many different backgrounds and cultures every day. Interpreters are available to any family who may require this service, and we are committed to providing a service that is culturally sensitive and meets the needs of every family that attends. if you have any questions or worries you can ring us on: (01) 6407650 / (01) 874 5214
The Referral Process
If a social worker has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person may have been sexually abused then the child or young person can be referred to St. Clare’s Unit. However, it is important to remember that not all children or young people will require the same service and therefore, not all children or young people will be referred to or attend St. Clare’s Unit. Each case is dealt with individually and decisions are made in accordance with what is best for the child or young person.
To attend St. Clare’s Unit, a referral must be made by the local Social Work Department in Tusla. However, professionals and parents can contact us directly to discuss any queries by contacting us at 01 8745214 9am-5pm Monday to Friday
If you have a concern about child sexual abuse, initial contact should be made with your local Social Work Department Duty Team in the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). You can call Tusla on (01) 771 8500 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tusla also has resources for Reporting Abuse and Responding to Disclosure of Abuse.
Where there is concern that a child or young person may have been sexually abused, the social workers in the Child & Family Agency (Tusla) ask us to help find out what has happened, to offer an opinion on what the child says, and to outline further plans on how best to support a child or young person and their family. This assessment is separate to any Garda investigation that may be proceeding regarding the sexual abuse concerns.
St. Clare’s Unit also has a specialist therapy service for children who have experienced sexual abuse and their families.
If an opinion has been provided that the child has experienced sexual abuse that has been deemed credible, he/she may attend the Therapy Service. This opinion may have been provided by the Assessment Team in St. Clare’s Unit or another designated professional such as a Social Worker employed by Tusla.
St. Clare’s Unit can offer a consultation service to other professionals, in order to support them in their ongoing work with a child or family. Consultations aim to explore particular issues or concerns relating to sexual abuse. They are usually offered in situations where a referral for assessment or therapy to St Clare’s Unit is not indicated or deemed to be most helpful at that time. They are short term rather than on-going and are not supervision.
Examples of consultations can include:
- In cases where professionals require additional support forming a conclusion on an allegation of sexual abuse, with the information available to them
- Where professionals are seeking advice in terms of offering the most appropriate therapeutic support to a child/family where child sexual abuse is an issue
- Providing advice to professionals who have concerns relating to a sexualised environment that a child has been exposed to, but no disclosure of sexual abuse has been made
All images by Lisa Kelly (c) Children's Health Ireland