I completed my Masters in Criminology in 2015. I took the course part time at night as a mature student who was in full time employment during the day.
The Course is taught by a group of experts within their field. They demonstrated a commitment to the students and an investment in the content that they were teaching. All lecturers held a wonderful mix of high expertise and a warm approachability and were extremely attuned to the demanding balancing act that is the mature student.
My dissertation was focused on the work that I do with child victims which allowed me to really embed and enrich the practicalities of my work. The process itself was a huge learning for me and something that would have been all the more difficult had it not been for the constant and unwavering support that I received from my supervisor.
Today, I continue to work with and for child witnesses within the Criminal Justice System. The large gap that resides between adult and children's sexual assault services is a completely unacceptable one. I am proud to lead the only service in Ireland dedicated to supporting and accompanying child witnesses/victims as they give evidence in criminal trials. I also oversee a National Helpline that provides support for those dealing with child sexual abuse as well as a service that provides accompaniment and aftercare for children and their families when they receive a forensic medical examination after a sexual assault or abuse disclosure.
This MA has helped me to navigate the legislative terrain for victims in a much more informed way. It has given me the knowledge to help train and develop our team so that they can better guide child victims and their families through the Criminal Justice System. I have become a more sophisticated advocate for children which has allowed me to better challenge the parts of the system that cause secondary victimisation of the young and vulnerable.