O’Rourke to pressure Andrews on funding

CHILDREN’S Minister Barry Andrews is facing pressure from party colleague Mary O’Rourke to come up with emergency funds for the organisation One in Four after the victim support group was swamped with pleas for help.

One in Four said it had been denied a meeting with Mr Andrews to discuss funding despite its annual report showing that in just a few months it helped more victims than it normally helped in a year.

Nearly 5,500 hours of psychotherapy were provided by the organisation to victims of abuse last year. It helped 426 clients with its advocacy services and 75 through psychotherapy.

But some 700 new clients attended its services since the publication of the shocking Ryan report on abuse in religious-run institutions in May. The wave of new victims has swamped services, said the group’s executive director Maeve Lewis.

“We have really struggled to respond. I am deeply disappointed that the minister has been unable to meet with us over once-off emergency funding.”

The annual report shows while 21% of One in Four clients had experienced clerical abuse, 43% were abused within their family. Another 20% were victims of abuse by friends and neighbours.

“We know from our clients that sexual abuse of children is endemic in Irish society and continues to be so. The next major scandal is going to be the fact that for most children where those abuses take place is within their own family,” added Ms Lewis. The group last year also treated 22 sex offenders, a small increase on the previous year. Referrals came from the courts and health services but most were self-referred.

Overall, 36% of the organisation’s clients came from Dublin, with 22% from international countries and 6% from Britain. Most support for clients was based on accessing the courts, the criminal justice system in general and support in employment, housing, education and counselling.

Commenting on the group’s call for €100,000 in emergency finances, TD and former minister Mary O’Rourke said she would apply pressure on Mr Andrews.

“My job is to bring that news back to the minister. It is a small modicum of money in a sea of no money... I do have hopefully some bit of clout.”

One in Four has warned if it does not receive extra funds, services for the large number of abuse victims who are expected to emerge when the Dublin archdiocese report on abuse is published, could be unavailable.

The minister’s office last night said the issue of funding was a matter for the Health Service Executive. The group had been assigned over €640,000 for 2009.


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