Saturday, February 24, 2007

CURA 30 Years On (Éire)

CURA – 30 years long, celebrating the past and looking to the future. This is the theme of this year’s annual CURA conference which began yesterday in Galway.

Over 8,500 clients availed of crises pregnancy and post abortion counselling services with the organisation last year.

According to Louise Graham, CURA National Coordinator, pregnancy is still a complex issue.
"Our work is ultimately about taking the ‘crisis’ out of a crisis pregnancy situation by providing a safe and secure place where the clients can work through her considerations and move on to making a considered and informed decision about her future," she told delegates during her opening address at the conference.

Ms Charlotte Keary , PRO for CURA told ciNews that there was much more understanding of crisis pregnancy now than there was thirty years ago, but when it is “your pregnancy,” then the emotions and fears are the same.

Paying tribute to those who originally set up CURA in 1977, she said they were “farsighted” to spot the need for such an organisation.

In recent years more fathers and grandparents in crisis pregnancy situations are coming forward for counselling. “I think a lot of men want to be included,” she said.

Many of these hear about CURA initially through their secondary school awareness programme, through which 10,000 young people heard about the work of CURA last year.

What one young man, whose relationship with his girlfriend had broken down, said would epitomise what many feel: “I want to help, but everyone is so angry and no one is listening to what I’m saying.”

Ms Keary stresses that for every pregnant girl, there is a father and parents who are also upset by the pregnancy.

She told ciNews that the number of women seeking post-abortion counselling is also up.
“Abortion is by nature a very silent secret and the need for counselling can arise years later – even twenty years after the abortion.”

Counsellors get over seventy five hours training, but post abortion counsellors get additional training in the areas of grief and bereavement. There is at least one post abortion counsellor in each of CURA’s sixteen centres.

The weekend AGM is a working meeting, with workshops dealing with the many challenges facing counsellors, for example, the language of sex and sexuality and how it is changing.
CURA has over 400 counsellors, who all work on a voluntary basis.

In relation to the controversy over the distribution of the Positive Options leaflet, (which provides the addresses of pro choice counselling agencies) at CURA centres, she confirmed that the leaflets had been withdrawn from the centres at the request of the bishops.

Although threatened with the loss of €600,000 funding from the government’s Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA), the funding has not been cut, and negotiations between the bishops and the CPA continue.

230 delegates from the sixteen CURA centres are attending the AGM. In 2006 a total of approx 8,500 clients availed of CURA pregnancy and post abortion counselling services. The CURA Schools Awareness Programme was delivered to over 200 post-primary schools and 25 other educational establishments, catering for almost 10,000 students.

CURA is an agency of the Irish Bishops’ Conference providing a range of crisis pregnancy counselling services including counseling for women, fathers and grand parents and post abortion counseling. It also provides information on adoption, fostering, rights and entitlements, as well as running a secondary school awareness programme.

The organization has centres in Athlone, Castlebar, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Ennis, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Limerick, Monaghan, Sligo, Thurles, Waterford and Wexford.
The Cura helpline is 1850 622 626 (Open from 10.00am-9.00pm Mon-Fri and 10.00am - 5.00pm on Saturday). For further information see:



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