Girl Receives Compensation for Psychological Abuse at Creche

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A young girl has received €23,000 in compensation for psychological abuse she suffered while attending creche at the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre.

Towards the end of 2012, a young girl attended the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin. During her time in the “Toddler’s Room” at the creche, her parents were alarmed at their child’s distress about attended the creche, and they claimed that she would cry “No creche. No creche” each morning as they were preparing to drop her off. Their concerns increased when she started showing signs of anxiety and distress. Furthermore, it was claimed that when she returned in the evening, she was lethargic and experienced disturbances to her sleep pattern.

Her mother brought her concerns to her daughter’s carer in the facility. The carer told the girl´s mother she was receiving an appropriate level of care under her supervision and there was no reason to be concerned.

Several months after noticing the change in their daughter’s behaviour, the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust” showed the same carer abusing children at the creche. Distraught, the girl´s parents sought legal counsel, and claimed compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche on the grounds she had suffered stress and emotional upset due to the negligence of the creche and the creche´s failure to adequately supervise its staff.

The creche initially denied liability, and in July 2015, an offer to settle the claim for €15,000 without an admission of liability was made. As the girl was a minor at the time of the incident, the offer went to the Circuit Court for approval to ensure that it was in the girl’s best interests. However, the case was thrown out by Judge James O´Donohue, who said the proposed settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche was inappropriate in relation to the level of injury the girl was alleged to have suffered.

The two parties entered negotiations, a new offer of settlement for €23,000 was made. Details of the offer and the circumstances of the girl´s injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court earlier this week and – after he was assured there was no serious risk to the young girl´s future psychological development – the judge approved the settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche.