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Abuse of Irish woman a breach of her human rights, European Court rules

The Irish state breached the human rights of a woman by failing to protect her abuse, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

Louise O’Keefe was sexually abused while attending an Irish state school in the 1970s. She claimed that the Irish government was responsible for the incidents as they had not monitored the risks of abuse.

But in 2009 the Irish Supreme Court ruled against her, saying the government could not be held responsible. She then took her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Earlier this week, the ECHR ruled in her favour, declaring that the Irish government had breached her rights under Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 3 forbids ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’ and Article 13 establishes a right to an effective remedy before national authorities for breaches of rights.

The Irish Department of Education “must protect children in schools”, the Court ruled.

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said after the ruling:

“I would like to say to Louise O’Keeffe that I apologise for what happened to her, and for the horrendous experience that she had to go through.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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