News / Blog

Treatment For Sex Offenders And Their Families Is Key To Keeping Children Safe From Sexual Harm

October 12, 2016

At the launch of their 2015 Annual Report today One in Four said that providing treatment for sex offenders and for their families is the key to keeping children safe from sexual harm.  Executive Director Maeve Lewis said “We provide a rigorous two-year group treatment programme to sex offenders and the outcomes are very positive. Most of these offenders will never face a criminal trial because their victims do not wish to make a Garda statement. But we have also learned that the wives and partners of the offenders play a vital role in child protection.  Many of these women are highly dependent on their partners, and often blame the child for what has happened.  One woman told us that her 11 year old daughter was ‘a slut who had stolen her husband from her’! Through our work with the wives, they come to understand the part they have played in the family dynamics that supported the abusive behaviour. They can then work with Tusla to keep their children safe.”
 
In 2015 One in Four provided counselling to 116 adult survivors of child sexual abuse and to 40 families, a total of 2,563 therapy hours.  Our advocacy officers provided practical information and support about child protection notifications and complaints to the Gardai to 663 people.
 
45% of our clients were men, which challenges the idea that boys are not sexually abused.
 
Almost 40% of our counselling clients had been sexually abused in their own families.  The others were abused in their communities (11%), in the Catholic Church (22%) and by strangers (15%).  11% were sexually abused by multiple abusers.
 
In 2015 we worked with 38 sex offenders and 19 wives and partners. 
 
Maeve Lewis continues “We meet men and women from all walks of life and from all over the country.  What they have in common is the devastating impact that child sexual abuse has had on their lives.  Many experience chronic post-traumatic stress.  Some struggle with relationships and parenting.  Many experience suicidal thoughts.  Sadly, we cannot respond immediately to the people who contact us and some are waiting up to six months for an appointment.  We know that 4 people have taken their own lives while on our waiting list in the past four years.  This is an absolutely preventable tragedy.”
 
At One in Four we can ensure that clients are supported on every step of their journey.  But our clients also have to engage with statutory agencies.  We notify Tusla child protection services of all allegations of sexual abuse because we know that even if the abuse happened years ago, that sex offender may still be abusing other children.  During 2015 Tusla began to put in place retrospective allegation teams around the country, and this has improved the way notifications are dealt with.  Maeve Lewis continues “We made 49 notifications to Tusla in 2015 but most of these were deemed to be “unfounded”.  While we appreciate the difficulty social workers face in assessing retrospective allegations, this does imply that many credible allegations will not be pursued, and children will be at risk.”
 
We welcome the enactment of the Children First Act in 2015 which will introduce mandatory reporting for a range of professionals.  However, we urge the Minister for Children to speed up its commencement which currently seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.
 
Fewer than 15% of our clients decide to make a complaint to the Gardai.  Generally our clients experience the investigating Gardai as both professional and sensitive.  However, in some cases investigations are not carried out in an appropriate manner. We have supported a number of clients in making complaints to GSOC in 2015. 
 
The biggest barrier to engaging with the criminal justice system is fear of the criminal trial. Maeve Lewis says “Our clients are routinely humiliated and re-traumatised by the accepted practices and protocols of the criminal trial.  Is it any wonder that the criminal justice process is viewed with such terror by victims of sexual crime? And what message does this state of affairs send to sex offenders who can abuse so many children with impunity?”
 
“We welcome the EU Victim’s Directive of November 2015 which introduces important victim -focused measures, including specialist training for judges and legal professionals.  We also welcome the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 which is currently proceeding through the Oireachtas.  This will bring Irish law up to date with developments in internet child grooming and sex offending and will also introduce changes in criminal trials which may improve our clients’ experiences of the criminal justice system.”
 
Maeve Lewis ends “There has undoubtedly been a sea change in Irish society’s understanding of child sexual abuse and this is reflected in the raft of legislative and policy changes that have emerged in the past two years.  However, I do not believe that people really appreciate how pervasive abuse is, how so many children are abused at home and how devastating the impact is throughout a person’s life. While this mind-set persists, children will continue to be sexually abused”.
 

If you would like to help more survivors of sexual abuse there are several ways to make a donation to One In Four:
 
Donate On-Line
 
Monthly
You can provide One In Four with a regular and reliable doantion by contacting us at fundraising@oneinfour.ie or call us up at (01) 662 4070
 
Cash or Cheques
Cheques can be made payable to One In Four Ireland and either posted or handed in to our office at 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2. There are envelopes available at reception.
 
Bank Transfer
BIC: BOFIIE2D
IBAN: IE21 BOFI 9014 9091 5014 67
Sort code: 90-14-90
Account no: 91501467
 
 

Categories: General.

The Media & Sexual Abuse - A Double-edged Sword

October 3, 2016
 
The media play an important role when it comes to sexual abuse. Especially investigative journalism.
 
There is no doubt the documentary ‘States of Fear’ and the work of Mary Rafferty led to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s apology to the victims of abuse in these institutions. After the establishment of the Ryan Commission and the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the publication of these reports we witnessed an enormous expression of solidarity from the general public.  I have no doubt this was the start of a positive change in attitude to sexual abuse. These along with other examples have encouraged others to come forward.
 
Media coverage on court cases, reports and experiences of sexual abuse can encourage people to reach out for the first time. As a result, we experience a huge increase in calls and unfortunately this can mean we don’t have the resources to respond as soon as we would like.
 
Over the years the biggest influxes of calls have come as a result of both the Ryan and Murphy reports. More recently it has been familial cases that have come before the courts. People often relate to the stories these cases reveal.
 
While media coverage can encourage people, fear of media coverage can also inhibit people from coming forward.  Headlines and photographs can quickly trigger people. They evoke sadness, anger and often identify with darkness people have experienced.
 
The infamous photograph of Brendan Smyth outside the courts is still used by the media. Popping into your local newsagent to pick up milk and to be confronted with images of your abuser coupled with disturbing headlines will stir up a tsunami of emotion. Without the right support it can be incredibly isolating and disturbing.
 
People can also feel encouraged by media coverage as they can identify with the person’s experience. This identification can incite a feeling of belief and acceptance; belief that what happened to that person also happened to them.
 
This can evoke a positive feeling as the person reporting or telling their story represents the story of thousands of others who are witnessing, observing and invested in their story or case.
 
But media coverage presents a double edge sword. Media coverage on sexual abuse is plentiful and this saturation has led to a desensitisation of the issue among the general public. Compassion fatigue can result given the nature of persistent horrific events in today’s culture.
 
If the general public feel desensitised and fatigued, it is difficult for people who have experienced sexual abuse to find their voice to tell their own story.
 
People who have experienced sexual abuse can also be terrified of the implications of having to cope with media attention if they choose to report. This can often be misunderstood and is something we hope to give people clarity around before embarking on reporting.
 
Deirdre Kenny, Advocacy Director
 

 

If you would like to help more survivors of sexual abuse there are several ways to make a donation to One In Four:

You can make a donation on-line here.
 
Monthly
You can provide One In Four with a regular and reliable doantion by contacting us at fundraising@oneinfour.ie or call us up at (01) 662 4070
 
Cash or Cheques
Cheques can be made payable to One In Four Ireland and either posted or handed in to our office at 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2. There are envelopes available at reception.
 
Bank Transfer
BIC: BOFIIE2D
IBAN: IE21 BOFI 9014 9091 5014 67
Sort code: 90-14-90
Account no: 91501467
 

Categories: General.

Global Giving- Only a few days remain!

September 26, 2016

Only four days remain!

One in Four is taking part of online fundraising competition. In the short space of the 19th of September to the 30th of September we are urging people to donate to help us, through Global Giving, to shorten our continually expanding waiting list.

At this very moment there is a 3 week waiting period to get an initial consultation meeting. After this there is a further 3-4 month waiting period to get into an official counselling programme.

Individuals ring every day, many have waited years, some even waited  decades to reach out for help and support. We want to be able to help them when they make that first call. Don’t make them wait.

Our success in this project can lead to a series of new beginnings for all those waiting and all those working on building their courage to contact us and seek help. You can be the bridge that brings them closer.

In order to earn a permanent spot on the Global Giving Website we need to raise $5,000 by 40 different donors. Will you be one of them?

http://buff.ly/2d3qtuF  

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Categories: General.

Donate TODAY ONLY and your donation will do more…

September 22, 2016

 

"To be told that you must go on a waiting list is like being told that no one wants to listen..." That's what one survivor of abuse told me last week.

And because of a simple lack of resources there are still dozens of women, men and families sitting on our waiting list.

But GOOD NEWS...Today only, GlobalGiving are going to match your donation!

All online donations above US$25 and up to US$1,000 made at https://goto.gg/24743 will be matched at 20% while funds last. And the most popular projects today will get a $1000 bonus donation.

Will you...your friends...your family...make a super special donation today and allow us to grab this opportunity?

Time is running out...

If you can find the time to help us now...today of all days...then we will be one step closer to eliminating our waiting list. One step closer to supporting every survivor of abuse that contacts us immediately.

Thank you so much.

 

 

Categories: General.

World Suicide Prevention Day - 10th September 2016

September 9, 2016
 
 
Saturday September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide has assumed epidemic proportions in Ireland, taking lives, devastating families and bewildering communities.  We are always left with the question “why?”.  What could possibly drive somebody to the point where death becomes preferable to life? What goes on in a person’s mind that the grief and distress their death will cause their loved ones can be ignored?
 
At One in Four we know that the experience of child sexual abuse is one of the factors that contributes to a decision to take one’s own life.  The searing impact of sexual abuse persists long after the abuse has stopped.  The shame, the despair, the self-loathing can lead a person to believe that life has nothing to offer except more pain, and that their families will be better off without them.  Many adults who have been sexually abused are at high risk of suicide.  We meet people every day who have contemplated taking their own lives as the only way to escape from overwhelming suffering. 
 
But we also know that with expert help, people can make different choices.  They can be supported to face what has happened, move through the pain and believe in a future that holds the promise of contentment.  Sadly, not everybody gets the opportunity to receive the help they need.  We know that a number of people have taken their own lives while on our waiting list, before we were able to meet them.  We cannot know for sure that the outcome would have been different if we had been able to offer immediate help, but it is very likely.
 
On National Suicide Prevention Day let us remember the sexual abuse survivors who have died, but let us also remember those who are alive and struggling.  As a society we can choose to make sure that help is available to everybody who is in that lonely, dark place where suicide seems like the only option.  And we urge people to take a chance and ask for that help when they need it.
 

 

If you would like to help more survivors of sexual abuse there are several ways to make a donation to One In Four:

You can make a donation on-line here.
 
Monthly
You can provide One In Four with a regular and reliable doantion by contacting us at fundraising@oneinfour.ie or call us up at (01) 662 4070
 
Cash or Cheques
Cheques can be made payable to One In Four Ireland and either posted or handed in to our office at 2 Holles Street, Dublin 2. There are envelopes available at reception.
 
Bank Transfer
BIC: BOFIIE2D
IBAN: IE21 BOFI 9014 9091 5014 67
Sort code: 90-14-90
Account no: 91501467
 
 

Categories: General.

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