Last year was the busiest year for complaints to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO).
Education was the area where most concerns were raised (30%) with bullying, expulsion or suspension, and nd special education resources among some of the most common issues.
The children's rights watchdog's annual report for 2022, also highlights complaints about the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, including how it communicates with service users and their families.
Its latest annual report is titled Falling Behind. Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, says they wanted to point to how Ireland is doing in relation to children’s rights.
"Unfortunately, we’re not where we should be. This is backed up by the Concluding Observations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
"2022 and 2021 have been the busiest two years for the OCO since our Office was established.
"In 2022 we received over 1,800 complaints across the areas of education, health, justice, and finance, as well as complaints relating to Tusla and Local Authorities."
The 2022 annual report also highlights personal cases of children and families who lodged complaints with the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.
The Office says Aisling* made an allegation of "bullying with a sexual dimension". She told the office, that "the school made her feel responsible and that she was bullied by other students for reporting the abuse."
The OCO took action and "the school eventually apologised to Aisling with the Board of Management updating their policies".
10-year-old Chloe* developed an eating disorder during the pandemic and had to be tube-fed.
"Chloe’s family came to the OCO as they weren’t happy with how her case was handled. The HSE apologised to Chloe’s family and the OCO recommended changes to improve the system."
*the names in the case studies have been changed to protect the anonymity of the children