As 2018 draws to a close, I want to thank you most sincerely for your support for One in Four. We couldn’t continue to provide our vital services without your help – you make a real difference.
2018 has been an eventful year for One in Four. The Belfast rape trial earlier in the year provoked a massive national discussion on how victims of sexual crime are treated in the courts. Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland in August reawakened the scandal about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. There was huge media coverage of the visit, both nationally and internationally. The publicity caused many survivors who were sexually abused in the Church, but also in other contexts such as their family or community, to revisit the distress and trauma. We had a huge increase in calls from people looking for support. The Scouting Ireland scandal has in recent weeks also caused a big increase in people reaching out for help.
There are signs of positive changes too. In part due to our lobbying, the Minister for Justice is now reviewing how trials of sexual offences are conducted. He has also agreed that the major research into sexual violence in Ireland, the SAVI Report 2002, will finally be replicated. That research found that one in four Irish children experience sexual harm – that’s where our name comes from. We hope that the new research might show that the incidence has fallen, and we would love to be able to change our name to One in Five or even One in Six!
We have received great support over the year from our regular givers, donors and foundations. A big highlight was that Hozier donated the proceeds of one of his Dublin concerts to us – his recognition of our work was a fantastic boost to all our staff!
On the downside, we had a flood in the office due to a burst pipe in November and were closed for 10 days as a result. Happily, the damage was covered by insurance but it was a worrying time for us, having to suspend our services to many vulnerable clients.
Our biggest worry in 2018 has been that we had to close our waiting list for counselling in July when the waiting period for an appointment exceeded 1 year. It is now re-opened but we really struggle to meet new clients within a reasonable timeframe.
So again, thank you very much for your support. I wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.