Fewer abuse survivors using Church service – report
The number of abuse survivors using the Catholic Church’s confidential counselling and support service has fallen for the first time since it was founded four years ago.
The 2014 annual report of Towards Healing published today, records that 1,100 people received face-to-face counselling.
This is a reduction of 9.1% on the 2013 figure.
The number of new clients contacting the service fell from 426 in 2013 to 348 last year.
There was also a reduction in the numbers re-engaging with the services which declined from 72 in 2013 to 58 in 2014.
Towards Healing took over from the Faoiseamh service, which had provided counselling from 1996 to 2011.
Since 1996 a total of 5,470 people have been supported by both Faoiseamh and Towards Healing and a total of 365,820 counselling sessions have been provided.
The service’s primary client group are adult men and women who have experienced physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect in childhood, perpetrated by a priest, brother, religious sister, or volunteer or employee of the Catholic Church.
Speaking at the launch of its report, Towards Healing’s Chairman James Nugent called the reductions “a significant milestone” in the organisation’s life which has brought it back to 2011 levels.
He added that the development is reflected in a reduced budget for this year.
The overall cost of the service for 2014 was down from €2.1m to €1.9m.
The number of client cases still open at the end of 2014 also reduced from 1,626 to 1,247 over the 12-month period.
Mr Nugent said three factors had contributed to the overall dip in demand: the increased effectiveness of its counseling services; the success of advocacy services in removing from clients’ lives “obstacles which might otherwise destabilise them”; and a diminution in the numbers who are eligible for services and who have not already availed of them.