Missing Madeleine
Come join us...there's more inside you cannot see as a guest!

Abuse survivor awarded €2.5m

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Abuse survivor awarded €2.5m

Post  Guest on Tue 17 Aug - 12:01

Abuse survivor awarded €2.5m

Friday, July 16, 2010


A woman who suffered "appalling" sexual abuse by her brother for eight years from the age of four in the family home in Co Dublin has been awarded a record €2.5 million damages against him by a High Court jury.

The jury of seven men and five women, after an hour of deliberation, unanimously found the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sexually assaulted and awarded her €2 million compensatory and €500,000 exemplary damages.

The award is the highest ever here for child sex abuse with the second highest about €1 million, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera observed.

Earlier, Aileen Donnelly SC, with Sean Gillane SC, for the woman, said she was from the age of four to about 12 subjected to regular and repeated grave sexual assaults, including penetration and rape, by her brother who was about six or seven years older.

Her brother was later convicted on eight counts of indecent assault. He had filed a defence in the case but that was struck out last October in light of the criminal conviction. An application today to reinstate the defence was refused.

Urging the jury to award aggravated and exemplary damages, Mr Gillane said the case involved a particularly "desperate violation" as it was against a very young child in her family home who had no one to turn to. The woman had suffered "the most appalling consequences" with her world being turned "upside down".

When aged 17, the victim made a statement to gardai about the abuse but was ostracised by her family as a result and became homeless for a time, the court heard. She has never returned home since and the abuse has had the "most appalling" and lifelong consequences for her.

The jury heard the woman was first admitted to a psychiatric institution at the age of 18 when she threw herself off Dun Laoghaire pier. A non-swimmer, she was rescued and brought to a psychiatric hospital.

She remains under psychiatric care and has had some 11 hospital admissions since for reasons including self-harm and suicide attempts.

In evidence, the woman, now in her early thirties, said she has never had a relationship because she is unable to have sex as all she can see is her brother’s face.

"I’ve always wanted to have a family and children but it’s not looking likely because I don’t trust any man," she said. The woman, among the youngest of a large family, said the abuse began when she was aged four and she was "not a great sleeper" because she was "terrified" it would happen.

The abuse led to sex "most of the time" and happened two or three times weekly in the family home until she was aged eleven, she said. She would go to bed wearing pyjamas and wake up naked.

She said the abuse made her feel angry, upset and dirty but she had no real understanding of what was happening and was too afraid to say anything. Her brother was feared within the family and would lash out both at their parents and the children. It was only when she received some sex education at school that she began, “to my own horror”, to understand what had happened to her. She would stay in bed for very long periods and had often cut herself and had also tried to hang herself.

A consultant psychiatrist who has treated the woman for eight years said she has a personality disorder as a result of the abuse, is emotionally unstable and suffers from severe depression with elements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Such extreme and prolonged abuse at an early age and in the family home where she had no one to turn to had led to her suffering severe trauma and experiencing great problems just managing on a daily basis, he said. She was on significant medication.



Back to top Go down

Re: Abuse survivor awarded €2.5m

Post  Guest on Tue 17 Aug - 12:02

Psychiatric Disorders More Prevalent Among Sex Abuse Survivors

Jul 16th, 2010

Psychiatric disorders are more prevalent among victims of sex abuse, with those with a history of being raped having the most occurrences of depression, eating disorders and post traumatic stress disorder. The study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic, determined that the age and gender of the victim did not impact the strong correlation between multiple mental health disorders; any victimization increased the likelihood of mental health difficulties.

Increased incidents of suicide and attempted suicide, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and even sleep disorders were closely linked with a history of sexual abuse and rape. Dr. Ali Zirakzadeh, who conducted the study, says, “Survivors of sexual abuse are commonly seen in general medical practice. Sexual abuse survivors face a challenging spectrum of physical and mental health symptoms, which results in high health care utilization, often times without improvement in quality of life.”

More than 20 percent of adults and 33 percent of children in certain populations may be survivors of some type of sexual abuse, making about a quarter of all primary care practice patients survivors of sex abuse. While the study reveals a disturbing problem for people who have already suffered tremendously, Zirakzadeh says, “The good news for patients is that physicians are now more aware of the link between abuse and psychiatric illness so that abuse survivors may be more readily identified and referred to specialists for treatment. We hope that heightened awareness in clinical practice leads to improved outcomes for our patients.”

The study also looked at why some sex abuse survivors do not experience psychiatric problems and have determined that there may be something in their genetics that protects them. Additional research may be necessary, but if there is a genetic protection against psychiatric symptoms, it may be useful in determining treatment options for all sufferers.

Shadra Bruce is a contributing writer to Mental Health News.



Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum