Sunday 15 September 2019

Victims of abuse need more help - charity

Maeve Lewis: One in Four director expects a rise in alleged victims. Photo: Damien Eagers
Maeve Lewis: One in Four director expects a rise in alleged victims. Photo: Damien Eagers
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

More resources to help child abuse survivors are "desperately" needed amid a surge in demand for counselling due to scandals in the Church and now Scouting Ireland.

The warning from an abuse survivors charity comes as State agency Tusla set up a helpline for anyone with concerns over alleged historical abuse at scouting organisations.

One in Four executive director Maeve Lewis said the number of adult survivors coming forward "increased hugely" after coverage of the visit of Pope Francis. The pontiff met victims of clerical abuse during his August visit.

Ms Lewis expects the number of contacts from alleged victims of abuse in the scouts will rise significantly.

She added: "One in Four and other services working with adult survivors are really struggling to meet the demand. We have long waiting lists and we desperately need more resources."

While One in Four is taking phone calls from abuse victims, its waiting list for face-to-face counselling is currently closed.

In recent months it has sought emergency state funding of around €60,000 so it can hire another counsellor. The request is currently under consideration.

A health department spokesperson said One in Four got €590,000 in State funding this year. A review of historical allegations of abuse in scouting organisations found evidence of 71 suspected perpetrators and 108 victims dating from the 1960s to 1980s.

The new Tusla helpline number is 1800 805 665. It is open this weekend and Monday to Friday next week from 9am to 4pm.

Irish Independent

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