herald

Sunday 18 November 2018

'Elisha told us she had suffered sexual abuse', mum Grainne reveals

Grainne Gault
Grainne Gault

The mother of a teenager who died by suicide last month has revealed that her daughter told her she was sexually assaulted as a child.

Grainne Gault, whose daughter Elisha went missing on March 17 and whose body was recovered from the River Suir eight days later, appeared on The Pat Kenny show to discuss the ordeal her family are facing.

Elisha (14) had told her family early last year that she was the victim of sexual abuse in 2012. The family engaged with the authorities and a file was sent to the DPP.

In January this year, the family received a letter from gardai informing them that the matter would not be pursued further, she told the TV3 programme.

The teenager was upset by the news, her mother said.

"It's one thing to have somebody to build up to have that confidence and trust to come forward and express what had happened but then to find that the powers that be have decided that they're not going to pursue it.

Fighting

"She had a range of emotions. It just feels like you're out there fighting on your own. For all the love in the world if love could save my child, I could have saved everybody in Ireland."

On May 31, 2017, Elisha made a serious attempt to end her life, her mother said. After this distressing event she was referred immediately to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

"I had made it perfectly clear that I didn't believe she suffered from depression as such but it was more of a situational stress overload," Ms Gault said.

Following the initial assessment Elisha was determined unsuitable for the services and the family were given a printout of other services. The family were linked in with a local youth group through Tusla but the group were not in a position to address her psychological issues, her mother said as she hit out at mental health services available to teenagers here.

Elisha Gault
Elisha Gault

Sadly, just days before she went missing Elisha had expressed hope for the future, her mother said. The HSE was not in a position to comment when contacted by the show.

Ms Gault said she is passionate about raising awareness of her daughter's story.

"Her life has to have meant something. I'm going to take on what she would have wanted for other people and make it better and that's why I'm in front of you today," she said.

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