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12 July 2022 Statement by the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) on the publication of Tusla’s Child Abuse Substantiation Policy (CASP)

Statement by the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) on the publication of Tusla’s Child Abuse Substantiation Policy (CASP) and its commencement in frontline practice from June 27th, 2022.

The IASW welcomes the recent publication and national roll out of Tusla’s Child Abuse Substantiation Policy (CASP). Over the past number of years Tusla’s management and practice in this area, responding to allegations of abuse and neglect, has been the subject of much scrutiny and attention. All parties, including victims, survivors, their families, and those subject to abuse allegations, as well as social work practitioners themselves, have voiced their respective concerns about the previous management and handling of such allegations. 

The IASW acknowledges that extensive work that has been undertaken in terms of revising and updating the policy in this area and would like to also acknowledge the invitation to offer our views on the developing policy via a series of stakeholder consultations. 

The IASW is heartened by the developments within the now-published policy and the incorporation of many of the recommendations from the stakeholder consultation process. The change in some of the language used in the policy is an important step forward in recognising and acknowledging the potential shame, stigma, and trauma that may be present in the context of abuse. In particular, we note the removal of the term ‘stress testing’ and the change from ‘adult complainant’ to ‘person making the disclosure.’ We would also like to acknowledge the referencing of trauma and the identification of the need to accommodate individual needs of victims and survivors, adult, and child alike, within the policy. 

The IASW also would like to acknowledge the various concerns that have been raised in respect of social work practice in this sensitive area. Among those concerns, those relating to the treatment of victims and survivors of abuse, the management of personal data related to disclosures, and where allegations are made in the context of foster care, have been particularly prominent. The IASW is of the opinion that the practice on the ground, having now gone ‘live,’ will need to be monitored and reviewed in order to evaluate what real change has occurred under the new policy. In this, we continue to support the work of frontline practitioners and are continuously ready to engage with agency partners such as Tusla on this important issue into the future.

Vivian Geiran

Chair of IASW


IASW Spokesperson: Vivian Geiran via office on 086 0241055