April 16, 2015
Where there is a victim there is a community. And for most individuals that community is our family.
When a victim has been groomed by an offender they are told that they are not wanted in their family - their family would not believe them - so they lose all belief that their family will be there for them. This is why it is so important to break this distortion – so important for the family to believe them, take care of them and reassure them it was not their fault.
For families, when a disclosure occurs, the impact is traumatic for them.
They have so much to contend with but mostly the complete devastation for their loved ones. They are not always able to express this and their response may be How? When? Where? Why did you not tell me?
They also have to deal with what their extended families and friends may say of them: What kind of parent lets this happen? You should be ashamed of yourself.
They may lose their friends who do not know what to say. Or they may withdraw from their friends as they are so ashamed they did not know what was happening in their home.
In the cases of intrafamilial abuse - where one family member offends against another - this adds to the trauma. What will family and friends do if they know our son, husband or other family member has offended against one of their family member? We will be burnt out, we will be attacked, our loved ones will be harmed.
For many families the dilemma of ‘Sophie’s Choice’ - who will I choose or how can I chose especially if it is one sibling against another?
The hope is that we love and want the best for our children and want to include and love them. Yet when abuse occurs families feel they cannot show their love for the individual who has offended and all society want is for the family to throw them out and never let them back.
The Support programme delivered by One in Four is aimed at supporting individuals who have been indirectly impacted by the disclosure by a family member or a friend of childhood sexual abuse.
For many individuals who have been indirectly impacted by sexual violence (such as the parent or significant others in a victim’s life) it can be difficult to know how to support the individual.
For many of the support individuals who attend, engagement with the support programme at One in Four is their first experience of therapeutic support. Given the dynamics of supporting a loved one who has experienced sexual violence in childhood, it is also often their first experience of speaking about the impact on themselves.
For professionals working in the area of sexual abuse this is a skill most of us have learnt. However for family members or friends who have not been trained to manage this information this can be very overwhelming. The fear of saying the wrong thing and upsetting an individual who is already traumatised can be very daunting.
For a family, everyone is impacted and how they manage the trauma of the disclosure for themselves is very important. This begins with opening up in a safe space to talk about the impact and the total devastation.
Eileen Finnegan, Clinical Director
April 2, 2015
Our waiting list for counselling at One in Four is closed and has been for eight weeks now. Last year we had to close the list too, for four months.
We absolutely hate having to do this.
When a survivor of sexual abuse plucks up the courage to pick up the phone and reach out for help, it should be available to them immediately. Often it is the first time they have disclosed to anybody, even close relatives, that they were abused. Sometimes it is a crisis in their lives that prompts them to contact us. For other people the burden of carrying the trauma of sexual abuse has become too much and they are considering taking their own lives.
We know of at least three people on our waiting list who have died over the past four years because we were unable to meet them when they phoned. We will never know if we had been able to offer them an appointment when they called if could their lives might have been saved.
Why do we close the waiting list?
If we just keep adding names to the list, people could be waiting up to two years for an appointment. That is in nobody's interest. The bottom line is that the demand for our services is greater than our capacity to provide timely counselling to everybody who needs it.
Survivors of sexual abuse deserve the best possible quality services, so we employ highly skilled and experienced counsellors. We receive almost no government funding for counselling, and are dependent on donations and fundraising. We simply cannot afford to employ the number of counsellors we need.
Sexual abuse in childhood is devastating, and its effects are felt throughout a person's life. When a survivor enters our counselling programme, they are supported to face the pain and trauma, and to understand how the sexual abuse has influenced their life. This creates a freedom to begin to make positive choices. The survivor can grow to become the person they truly are.
It is absolutely unacceptable that so many people are denied the chance to transform their lives because we are unable to meet them when they need us.
If you would like to help then please make a donation here: http://www.oneinfour.ie/help-us/ or by post to 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2
March 23, 2015
When the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse began its work, hundreds of adults who had grown up in the care of the State gave evidence about their experiences in the residential institutions.A horrifying story began to emerge, as witness after witness gave consistent, compelling accounts of emotional and physical abuse, sexual abuse, cruelty and neglect.
The witnesses spoke on the understanding that the records of their testimony would be destroyed when the final report was published. Many of them had never spoken before about their experiences and some had never told anybody, even wives and husbands, about what they had endured.
Some still carried immense shame and were afraid that their histories could be accessed inappropriately.
Following the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009, Irish people were shocked, saddened and outraged by what the children had endured.
Yet many people were not altogether surprised: this had happened in plain sight.
Irish society had been passively complicit with the horrors that were taking place.
A terrible culture of deference to the Catholic Church and State authorities had ensured their silence. The brave few who had tried to speak out were annihilated. This is why we believe at One in Four that it is imperative that the personal narratives of the survivors should not be destroyed.
While the Ryan Report will stand as an authoritative description of what happened, and contemporaneous media reports and documentaries will still exist, they cannot replace the intensity of the direct, explicit accounts of the survivors.
The documents will be placed in the National Archive and will be closed for 75 years. This seems to me to be a good compromise.
It ensures that when everybody involved is long dead, a new generation of researchers will have access to the truth of one of the darkest episodes of 20th Century Ireland.
It will help generations to come to understand the real nature of Irish society then, and will ensure that the appalling history of our cruelty and indifference to the most vulnerable children can never be forgotten.
February 26, 2015
The VHI Women's Mini Marathon is the biggest all women's event of its kind in the world. Since 1983, nearly 780,000 women have entered the event.
It will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st June 2015.
Start Time: 2pm (we'll all be meeting at the One In Four offices beforehand)
Participants in their zone areas by 1.30pm
Entry will open on 11th February 2015
Closing date Friday 17th April 2015 (or earlier depending on numbers)
We would love for you to join the One In Four team running the women's mini marathon, and help us raise badly needed funds for survivors of sexual abuse.
You can register here: Online Entry
And then please let us know you've entered so we can send you a t-shirt and sponsorship details.
February 4, 2015
The Children’s Rights Alliance today welcomed the appointment Dr Niall Muldoon as Ireland’s second Ombudsman for Children. The Ombudsman for Children was recruited through the Public Appointments Commission with children involved every step of the way.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said today that:
“Under the ten-year tenure of Emily Logan, the Ombudsman for Children has become an important vehicle for delivering legal and social change for children. As the former Director of Investigations, Dr Muldoon will be in a great position to hit the ground running and ensure that the Office continues its vital work.
Dr Muldoon will be the second children’s ombudsman since the office was established in 2004. We hope that under his leadership the office of the Ombudsman for Children will build on its success over the past decade and work to create a culture of children’s rights. The key challenge for the Office is to bring about systematic change particularly at administrative level where critical decisions about children’s lives are made every day.
The Children’s Rights Alliance wishes Dr Muldoon well and looks forward to working with him in his new role.”
One In Four are proud to be members of the Children's Rights Alliance.
For press inquiries, contact Julie Ahern at the Children’s Rights Alliance on 01 662 9400 or mobile: 087 653 1069.