Special Rapporteur on Child Protection
Dr Geoffrey Shannon was appointed as Special Rapporteur on Child Protection by a Government Decision of June 2006. The appointment of the Rapporteur was made in the aftermath of the Supreme Court Decision in May 2006 in the CC case, which held that section 1(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1935, which made it an offence to have unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl aged under 15 years, was unconstitutional as it did not allow for a defence of mistaken belief as to the age of the girl.
The term of office for the Rapporteur is three years and he/she is required to prepare, annually, a report setting out the results of the previous year’s work.
Dr. Shannon was reappointed for further terms of three years in April 2010, July 2013 and July 2016. His current term in office expires in July 2019.
The Terms of Reference of the Rapporteur to July 2016 were as follows:
• keep under review and to audit legal developments for the protection of children;
• assess what impact, if any, litigation in national and international courts will have on child protection;
• prepare, annually, a report setting out the results of the previous year’s work. This report will be submitted to the Dáil and Seanad for consideration and debate and be published and;
• to examine, upon request, the scope and application of existing legislative provisions and to make comments/recommendations as appropriate.
The Rapporteur is entitled to consult with Departments of Government and the Ombudsman for Children about any legislative initiatives designed to enhance child protection.
On his re-appointment in July 2016, the Minister revised the Terms of Reference for the role to improve the effectiveness of the Special Rapporteur by focusing on specific priorities.
Accordingly, the revised Terms of Reference, effective from July 2016, are as follows:
1) The Rapporteur shall, in relation to the protection of children and on the request of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs:
a) Review and report on specific national and international legal developments for the protection of children;
b) Examine the scope and application of specific existing or proposed legislative provisions and to make comments/recommendations as appropriate; and
c) Report on specific developments in legislation or litigation in relevant jurisdictions.
2) The Rapporteur shall report on relevant litigation in national courts and assess the impact, if any, such litigation will have on child protection.
3) The Rapporteur shall prepare, annually, a report setting out the results of the previous year’s work in relation to 1) and 2) above.
4) The Rapporteur will provide, if requested by the Minister, discrete proposals for reform prior to the submission of the annual report.
5) The annual report of the Rapporteur will be submitted to the Government for approval to publish and will be laid before the Oireachtas and published.
All of the Reports of the Child Protection Rapporteur are laid before the Oireachtas and published on this website.
Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Reports:
The 11th Report refers to developments in 2017. Dr Shannon addresses and makes recommendations in relation to the following key areas:
- Developments Relating to International Instruments and Standards
- Best Practice for Children and Family Services in Irish Courts
- Review of the Child Care Act 1991
- Domestic Case Law
- Criminal Developments
- Domestic Developments
The 10th Report refers to developments in 2016. Dr Shannon addresses and makes recommendations in relation to following three key areas:
- Developments relating to international Instruments and Standards.
- General trends from the Courts in Child Law.
- Commencement issues and Pathways to Parentage in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.
- Child Protection and the Criminal Justice System.
The 9th Report refers to developments in 2015. Dr Shannon addresses and makes recommendations in relation to following three key areas:
· Child Protection and Developments in International Law;
· Domestic developments; and
. Child Protection and the Criminal Law System
The 8th Report refers to developments in 2014. The report addresses a number of key areas including:
• Child Protection and Developments in International Law;
• Domestic developments (for example, supporting and protecting the rights of young carers and their families and specialist care facilities for children with disabilities);
• Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014;
Dr. Geoffrey Shannon Report (Read Report)
Dr Shannon’s 7th Report addresses a number of key areas including:
• Chid Protection and Developments in International Law
• General Trends emerging from the Courts;
• Children and Internet Safety;
• Forced marriages.
The Report is dated 2014 but relates to developments in 2013.
Dr Shannon’s 2012 report addresses a number of key areas including:
• Protecting Children from Children – Bullying
• The Law on Guardianship of Children
• Miscellaneous Domestic Issues
Dr. Geoffrey Shannon’s 2011 report addresses a number of key areas including:
• Child Protection and Developments in International Law
• Child Protection Developments in the United Kingdom
• The Criminal Justice System A Re-Evaluation of Mandatory Reporting and Other Miscellaneous Issues
Geoffrey Shannon 2010 Report (Read Report)
Geoffrey Shannon’s 2010 report addresses a number of key areas including:
- Youth homelessness
- Children First National Guidelines
- Right of children with mental health difficulties to be heard
- Children and the criminal law
- Trafficking of children and prostitution
Geoffrey Shannon 2009 Report (Read Report)
Geoffrey Shannon’s 2009 report addresses:
- Children First, the National Guidelines for the Welfare and Protection of Children being placed on a statutory footing
- Mandatory reporting
- ‘A Differential Response Model’ as the model for child welfare and protection
- Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) guidelines being placed on a statutory footing
- The need to establish future inquiries into matters concerning children on a statutory basis and a national independent review of the child protection system
- HIQA inspection of facilities for Unaccompanied Minors
- HIQA inspection of services for children with disabilities
Child Care Services being subject to regular evaluation to assess outcomes in child care and protection.
Geoffrey Shannon 2008 Report (Read Report)
Geoffrey Shannon’s 2008 report addresses:
- criminal and civil Court proceedings where children are victims;
- child pornography;
- child abuse prevention; and
- the provision of services to ‘at risk’ children.
Professor Finbarr McAuley 2007 Report (Read Report)
Professor McAuley submitted one report in 2007, which addressed issues such as:
- The legal regime governing statutory rape under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935
- The effect of the decision of the Supreme Court in CC v Ireland
- Conclusions and recommendations as to how the law in this area might be improved.
Geoffrey Shannon 2007 Report (Read Report)
Geoffrey Shannon’s 2007 report addresses:
- Vetting and Soft Information
- Criminal Law
- Separated Children and Grooming
- The Interaction of Children with the Legal System
- Medical Law
- The Child Care Act, 1991. (Dealing with the various Care Orders provided for children needing care and protection and associated issues around Family Welfare Conferences and the role of the Guardians ad Litem in representing Children)
This Report relates to developments in 2007.