The RCNI are Breaking the Silence

10 February 2022

Minister Roderick O’Gorman to launch Rape Crisis Network Ireland’s ‘Breaking the Silence: Terminology Guidelines for Data Collection on Sexual Violence against Children’

Register here to watch the event. 

On Tuesday 22 February at 10am, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderick O’Gorman will launch the Rape Crisis Network Ireland resource ‘Breaking the Silence: Terminology Guidelines for Data Collection on Sexual Violence against Children’.  The event is being hosted by Carmichael resident organisation, The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI).


‘With an estimated 2% conviction rate on reported Child Sexual Violence cases, making sure we can tell the child’s story, wherever they break the silence, is essential’ says Cliona Saidlear, Executive Director of RCNI, ‘All services and professionals meeting a child’s needs must be able to join up their knowledge with others’, especially when our children cannot. To do this we must develop a common language. This is what the RCNI Breaking the Silence collaborative project promises.’ 


The goal of a common language and the aim of creating guidelines for terminology on sexual violence against children is to enable the collection of reliable, comprehensive and comparable data across services which will improve our understanding and interagency pathways for children. Failure to use shared language risks minimising or even erasing the experience of the child.

‘Breaking the Silence’ is a collaborative project which provides child-specific terminology and definitions for some of the manifestations of the many forms of sexual violence against children that are covered by the Istanbul Convention and Irish legislation.  Now, more than ever, it is well understood that violence against children includes physical, psychological, sexual and emotional violence and it has become increasingly important that the language to describe it captures and accurately records its breadth and nuance. The terminology guide is designed to be used by Irish service providers who must be able to talk to the children and their carers, in language that is appropriate to their organisation.


The event will be hosted by RCNI Executive Director Clíona Saidléar and they are pleased to welcome the following speakers: 


Roderick O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth


Biljana Brankovic member of GREVIO, the independent expert body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). She has over 20 years’ experience in research, advocacy/lobbying, monitoring, shadow reporting to UN Treaty Bodies. Most of Biljana’s research/ monitoring work has been done in countries of South-Eastern Europe, including cross-cultural/comparative studies on violence against women and children, and analyses of compliance of domestic laws/policies on VAW with international standards (CEDAW, CRC, Istanbul Convention, etc).  Her research bibliography involves over 120 references, roughly half of which are related to VAW/women’s rights/child rights and she has worked for many UN agencies/international organisations or NGOs/Networks as an Independent Researcher-Consultant.


Niall Muldoon was appointed as Ombudsman by President Michael D Higgins on 17 February 2015. His background is as a clinical psychologist and he has worked in the area of child protection for almost 20 years. Before becoming Ombudsman for Children in 2015, he worked at the OCO as Director of Investigations, and before that he was the national clinical director of The CARI Foundation, a charity that provides therapy and support for children affected by sexual abuse.