Deputy Thomas Pringle has called for adequate funding and reduction of the age young people can receive sexual education at.
He made the call ‘in order to try and stem the tide of abuse’, following alarming reports from the Donegal Rape Crisis Centre.
Deputy Pringle addressed the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, in the Dáil on the matter yesterday.
“Last week saw the Donegal Rape Crisis Centre report that it had 38 teenagers use their services in 2022. The highest level anywhere in the country,” he said.
“The manager of the centre said the level of physical violence accompanying the sexual violence is really ‘very frightening’.”
The centre, he added, can’t keep up with the number of referrals of both under and over 18.
The deputy addressed the Taoiseach during questions on promised legislation.
“Taoiseach, one of the main issues that was highlighted is the lack of proper education for children in this area,” he continued.
“We need a real sexual awareness teaching and I would say it has to start for all children in primary school at this stage.
Deputy Pringle said The Rape Crisis Centre in Donegal has reduced the age to 12 of the children that can access their services.
“I believe that it is young men and boys who are in most need of support and who need to be taught about proper sexual behaviour, but now they are going to be left behind.”
“Will your government provide adequate funding and reduce the age that young people can receive sexual education in order to try and stem the tide of abuse?”
In his response, the Taoiseach called the reports ‘very worrying’.
He said he agreed with the points Deputy Pringle made.
The Taoiseach said he thought it was important to broaden curriculum and strengthen capacity through continuing professional development of teachers and to help and support teachers in delivery of the programme both at primary and secondary level.