Half of abuse victims attacked at home
Published 28/07/2014 | 02:30
Almost half of people accessing a service for the victims of survivors of institutional abuse have been abused in their own home.
Over the first six months of this year, 45pc of the 2,600 calls answered by Connect reported abuse within the family home.
This compared with 26pc who reported that they had experienced abuse in their community and 15pc who reported abuse in institutions.
Connect Service Manager, Theresa Merrigan, said the figures went against the common perception that abuse on the island of Ireland has been largely an institutional problem.
She said what surprised the agency was the age profile of callers reporting abuse, 71pc of whom were aged under 50 and 28pc under 40 years of age.
The majority of these reported abuse within the family home. None of the callers under 40 reported institutional abuse. A total of 32pc of calls to Connect's out of hours telephone-based service were from men, 66pc from women and 2pc were transgender.
"That would indicate that people were experiencing abuse quite recently, particularly in the family home," Ms Merrigan told the Irish Independent.
She explained that the younger generation reporting abuse and neglect in their family home were often from families where the parents had experienced abuse within state-run institutions and had poor parenting skills.
She also highlighted that the announcement of the Mother and Baby Homes inquiry had seen a spike in the number of calls to Connect. She warned: "We are not finished with institutional abuse by a long way."
The Connect spokeswoman said there were a lot of institutions "that haven't even begun to look at their services to people with disabilities".
She added that there were more HIQA reports to come on the neglect and poor practice within certain services for people with disability.
Oliver Burke, chairman of Munster Survivors' Support Services, called for Connect's service to be extended to seven days a week.
"It should be funded in full by the HSE," he told the Irish Independent.
He said Connect was set up because people like him "were flooded with calls" by survivors.
"Connect needs to be supported because we are going to have lots more reports coming out and that is when you need Connect online ready to go."