A report on child protection, seen by RTÉ News, has expressed concern at a marked increase in applications for access to abuse complainant's medical and counselling records in sexual assault cases.

The report warns that there may be a decline in abuse victims seeking counselling and therapy or even reporting sexual abuse as a result.

The report by the special rapporteur on child protection, Geoffrey Shannon, calls for urgent legislation on the issue of disclosing such information.

The report also expresses serious concern at the practice of abuse victims being subjected to separate interviews by gardaí and social workers.

It says that ‘...repeated interviewing by separate agencies can cause the type of trauma and upset for a child that could be avoided by joint interviewing’.

It found that conducting separate interviews also poses a significant impediment to conviction in the courts because requests by the defence in a criminal prosecution for copies of DVD's of abuse units' interviews and reports could uncover differing accounts of the same events by children.

This is the fourth report from the special reporter on child protection Geoffrey Shannon.

Running to over 120 pages the report makes over 100 recommendations on how to plug gaps in the area of child protection.