Protecting Children in the Context of Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol in Ireland

Broughton Coveney, Fiona (2017) Protecting Children in the Context of Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol in Ireland. In: Society of Legal Scholars 108th Annual Conference, Dublin City University.

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This paper focuses on the issue of children’s rights to protection in the context of pre-natal exposure to alcohol. This issue has been chosen for two key reasons. First, alcohol has been shown to affect more children prenatally than any other drug with devastating effects (Jakobson & Sokol, 1994). Second, the issue of maternal alcohol consumption has huge national relevance in Ireland. The most recent figures indicate that Ireland is the State with the highest estimated prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy in the world at 60.4% (Popova et al, 2017). States deal with the issue of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs in varying ways. In the UK, referral of unborn children to child protection services is common place; however, in 2014 a seven year old girl was denied compensation for her Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as under British law a child cannot be a victim of a crime until born. In Wisconsin the State is allowed to take into custody pregnant women who have consumed any amount of alcohol or controlled substance and in 2014, Tennessee passed a law subjecting pregnant women who take drugs to criminal penalties. October 2009 saw the opening of the first Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder clinic in the Republic of Ireland. However, it can be argued that far too little is being done to face the problem of drinking in Ireland during pregnancy before it harms children. This paper comments on the extent to which Irish children are protected from prenatal alcohol exposure and suggests areas for reform on this issue.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: children’s rights, the right's of the child, foetal alcohol spectrum
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Law
Depositing User: Ms Dimphne Ni Bhraonain
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2017 16:02
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 16:03

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