A child welfare organisation has warned that children who are suspected of being the victims of sex abuse must not be left waiting long periods for assessments.
EPIC, which works for young people living in care, welcomed the highlighting by Child Care Law Reporting Project of difficulties in accessing specialist assessments for suspected victims of child sex abuse.
The advocacy group also praised the Project for drawing attention to an uneveness of knowledge and expertise among professionals who assess such abuse and the resultant inconsistencies in practice and variations in case outcomes from one part of the country to another.
EPIC says the latest volume published by the Project also identifies inconsistencies in approaches to assessments carried out in preparation for Care Order applications to the courts.
Another concern raised by the Law Reporting Project is delays in processing documentation by the child and family agency, Tusla, impeding care proceedings.
Director of EPIC Jennifer Gargan said education and training is required for professionals in order to ensure that all children, particularly children who may have been the victims of sexual abuse, receive the highest quality service that prioritises their needs above all else.
She said the lengthy delays show the need for a speedy resolution in child care proceedings in order to ensure for maximum stability in every child's life.
Ms Gargan urged that the best interests of the child should be paramount when any decision affecting his or her life is being made.