Friday, April 30, 2010

Calls to adult abuse counselling service surges by 37%

CALLS to a vital adult counselling service for people abused as children surged by 37% in the aftermath of the Ryan and Murphy reports.

Figures released by the HSE-funded Connect service show that in the months following the devastating findings of the clerical abuse investigations, thousands of people affected by the crisis contacted the confidential help line.

According to the group, which acts as an out-of-hours support and counselling service for adults who were abused as children, 4,630 people used the helpline in 2007.

However, just two years later this figure had reached 8,264 – almost twice the 2007 total and 37% higher than the figure for 2008.

Reacting to the surge in calls, almost half of which were from Dublin, Cork and Galway, Connect chief executive Ann Richardson said the increase was "clearly linked" to the findings of the Ryan and Murphy reports.

"It is important that people in all areas know professional support is available to help them. People may feel a huge sense of relief from talking to someone about their experience.

"Once people make contact with Connect, they can take part in counselling for a period of time which may help them to take better control of their lives," she said.

Despite the increase in calls, Ms Richardson said the group continued to be concerned about the low number of men in rural, isolated areas who are availing of the service.

In 2009, just under one in three people who contacted Connect were male, the vast majority of whom lived in urban communities.

* The Connect service is available Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm to 10pm and includes services for partners or relatives of people who were abused as children.

Connect can be contacted on 1800 477 477 or at connectcounselling.ie.

Callers from Britain or Northern Ireland can contact the service on 00800 4774 7777.

SIC: IE

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