Just a fraction of the 10,533 reported cases of child abuse received by the Health Service Executive (HSE) over the course of a year were confirmed, a new report revealed yesterday.
There was a rise in reports of alleged abuse including sexual, physical and emotional abuse during the course of 2007 but just 1,978 were confirmed and 371 were cleared as non abuse.
The report of the HSE's child protection services for 2007, officially released yesterday, revealed it received another 12,715 reports of welfare concerns about children during the year.
The report revealed the gap between reported allegations and confirmed cases:
Physical abuse 2,152 -- 389 confirmed. Sexual abuse 2,306 -- 293 confirmed. Emotional abuse 1,981 -- 52 confirmed. Neglect 4,414 -- 864 confirmed.
The HSE said it had a 10.5pc increase in reports to the service in 2007 and a 24pc rise over the last three years.
"The increase in referrals to the system, in a period of economic prosperity, does not reflect an increase in disadvantage or deprivation.
"Rather it indicates a raised awareness of child welfare in Irish society, a heightened profile of the services in the community and an increase in confidence in the services being provided for children and families," it said.