Abused children 'waiting average of five years' before abusers brought to court

CARI, which provides an accompaniment service to children attending court, has launched its annual report

Children's support service CARI says there are still excessive delays in bringing abuse cases involving children to trial.

Launching their annual report, the group said there is still an average five-year wait from the date of a crime to the end of criminal proceedings.

The charity says five years out of a child’s life is far too long, and it's calling for children's cases to be prioritised.

CARI - which provides an accompaniment service to children attending court and sexual assault treatment units - says there were 97 children waiting for therapy services last December, and is seeking funding to help continue its services.

CEO Mary Flaherty says delays are unacceptable, particularly when it concerns children.

She observed: "For children it's particularly traumatic, and they're engaged in maybe very different stages of their life when it comes to court than they were when the times occurred.

"I think it's really important that all arms of the legal system work to improve the speed at which these cases are seen and heard."

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan attended the report's launch, and praised CARI's work: