Abuse cases humiliating for victims
Almost 30 sex offenders who carried out attacks on children in their own families underwent treatment last year, a charity has revealed.
One in Four, which supports victims of sexual violence, said its programme for offenders is as essential as helping survivors.
The organisation worked with more than 900 survivors of abuse in 2011, including 20 whose cases were dealt with in the criminal court - a process described as humiliating, abusive and traumatic.
Maeve Lewis, executive director of One in Four, said treatment for sex offenders is at the core of child protection.
"Providing treatment for those who sexually harm children and supporting their families is essential if the cycle of abuse is to be broken," she said.
"While good programmes are available in prison, fewer than 5% of sex offenders will ever be convicted of their crimes.
"There is a huge need for treatment in the community."
Research shows effective treatment programmes reduce the risk of reoffending, yet most sex offenders in Ireland do not have access to treatment and will continue to abuse throughout their lives until they are caught.
In 2011, One in Four provided treatment to 28 sex offenders.
"Most of the men had abused children in their own families," Ms Lewis continued.