We have some very exciting news to share with you. With your help we were able to look at new ways to manage our waiting list to ensure we can meet the increased demand on our services. We are delighted that Jo has joined us as our new waiting list manager. In one of her first tasks she writes to you to let you know a little bit about her motivation for the role.

“I moved to Ireland last year after 25 years working as a social worker in Mental Health Teams in London, Oxfordshire and Italy. I wasn’t looking for a job. I’d taken early retirement from my last post, and was looking forward to living a quiet life growing as much of our food as possible, in a village in Kilkenny where I live with my wife.

But then the Scouting Ireland Abuse Investigations began, and the Commission into the Investigation into Mother and Baby homes was published, yet again I found myself profoundly moved by the terrible stories of the abuse suffered by men, women and children, which were all over the media. As a British social worker with an Irish grandfather, I was only too aware of the way children had suffered disproportionally behind the closed doors of the church, institutions, and families. We were all aware of the Ryan and Murphy Reports in 2009. We all heard the testimony of the Kavanagh sisters.

I’d always tried to work, even within a system obsessed with diagnoses, symptoms and medication which often ignores causes, in a trauma-informed way, but the Irish experience is what, for me, put trauma right in the centre of psychological, psychiatric and sociological problems. And I kept hearing about One in Four, with their vision of ‘an Irish society where children are safe from the threat of sexual harm’.

So when I saw that there was a job for somebody to manage the waiting list and offer short term support to people on it, I felt privileged to find I could put my skill set and experience to good use in the very organisation at the heart of healing Ireland’s hidden trauma.

Of course there are a lot of people on the waiting list. The journey towards healing from Child Sexual Abuse is a long one, and therapy can last for years, so therapy appointments can take a very long time to come up, especially for people with limited availability. I feel honoured to be able to reach out to those right at the beginning of that journey and offer them some care and advice. And I’m aware that lock down brought even more people to seek help. People retriggered, or closed in the house with their abusers, or maybe just having the time to reflect on the horrors of their past.

For some the symptoms are so overwhelming that the best they can hope for at the moment are some coping skills. I’m hoping, when we move into more suitable premises, to start a group for survivors at the beginning of that journey, to teach and share some symptom management skills.

Many are not ready for a group or do not live locally enough. I have contacted all those on the waiting list for individual therapy, with personalised support and crisis plans. It has become clear in the 5 weeks I’ve been with One in Four, that for some people, a point of contact is all they need. Others will need regular support calls, advice, referrals, a listening ear, and crisis support.

And although the waiting is difficult, most people I’ve communicated with understand the reasons for this and are relieved to know someone is there for them whilst they wait, and also grateful for all that One in Four do for individuals, and Irish society.”

Jo Wright