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Rapes, stabbings and daily threats leave social workers "numb and cynical", a top child protection officer warns.
Shane Dunphy was only 21 when a henchman violently threatened to rape him unless he dropped his child sex trafficking investigation in Ireland.
The 47-year-old – who personally investigated the case 20 years later – has now warned daily abuse leaves over-worked social workers "ineffective" at their jobs.
He told the Daily Star: "What can tend to happen is you become quite numb and cynical or you start to see it everywhere. Suddenly the world becomes a really dark place for you.
"Everybody who works in this area faces threats both physical and psychological every day you do it.
"If you are no longer angry about what's going on, you are ineffective."
He added: "From my own point of view I've been beaten up on more than one occasion.
"A colleague of mine that I worked with at one stage, in an institution, she would have been very, very violently sexually assaulted by a client.
"She gave up because of that. It was quite violent, she did end up being hospitalised, I think her intention was to get back into it but she ended up taking a couple of years out getting very very intensive therapy.
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"Again I'm aware of a colleague who would have gone in to visit a child in somebody else's home and he was stabbed by an adult member of the family.
"He ended up spending quite a length of time in hospital and he required psychological counselling after wards because of PTSD."
Shane details his investigation into how Ireland’s care homes were abducted by sinister ‘Dark Man’ and sexually abused at sick torture parties in his audiobook The Bad Place.
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He said dropping the investigation was a "mistake", saying: "I think that's something people don't realise – I have physical scars. It's a daily part and parcel of what you do and you're being threatened all the time.
"I suppose back then I tried to write it off as part and parcel of that, there was 'nothing to see here' and I just accepted this was the guy's head of security.
"Looking back on it now, I see how naive that was and I should have not accepted it. I should have pressed charges.
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"To be honest with you, I was probably too young to be doing that job. I didn't have any life experience to do it.
"I think these days the organisations are a lot more savvy about that kind of thing."
But Shane, now a part-time social worker and consultant at Waterford College of Further Education, added: "At the end of the day social workers are often working a ridiculously high number of cases.
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"They are expected to make colossal decisions often without really enough time to consider what needs to be done.
"I still get angry, I still get saddened by what I encounter. I'm outraged by what continues to go on."
He said he was "too young" aged 21 to have been sent to question a trafficker over the disappearances of eight young women between 1993 and 1998 in Leinster, east Ireland, on his own.
After telling the abuser the missing girls had been sighted at his house, an "enforcer" attacked Shane, throwing him to the floor with his arm twisted behind his back then stroked his cheek as he whispered terrifying threats.
Shane ran for his life and dropped the case, and was finishing his probe 20 years on when the abuser died of cancer.
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