The revelation came to light as a mother took to the airwaves yesterday to highlight the fact that two of her sons, both abuse victims, have been waiting two years for counselling.
“Your insides are screaming out for them, you know, and you’re breaking down on the inside. You can’t let that show on the outside when they’re sitting there talking to you.
“That’s very hard — to sit there composed, you know, and not to get angry, not to get upset. To sit there and just listen. Because at the end of the day, you’re all they have,” said the woman on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
After her sons told about a man’s sexual interaction with them, they were interviewed by gardaí and assessed psychologically. Their mother was told they would receive counselling, but they have been waiting two years.
“If I had the funds to go privately, oh man, I would have done it a long time ago. I really would have done it a long time ago.
“I’m not waiting around because, you know, ‘oh it’s the job for the system to sort my children out’ — no it’s not, it’s my job as a mother to sort my children out. And because I haven’t got the funds… if I had the funds my children would have been sorted out. But now I have to go down this road,” she said.
“The lack of supports that’s happening now, I don’t want that to affect them in a negative way for their future.
“I don’t want the dreams and hopes they have for themselves to die out because they’re filling up with hurt and pain.”
When contacted about the issue, the Health Service Executive said it would not be commenting as the matter is within the remit of the Child and Family Agency, also known as Tusla.
Tusla was established in January 2014, and took over responsibility for the development, welfare, and protection of children from the HSE.
Tusla spokesman Aidan Waterstone said that the agency does not know how many children are looking for counselling, or how long those children have to wait.
“It is a complex area of service delivery. It’s a very new area of service delivery. These services really only started to be developed in the late 1980s,” Mr Waterstone said.
“A child who has been sexually abused, there are actually six separate processes that child may go through and it’s important to be aware of this.”
Mr Waterstone also said there is “a very important and significant process under way” to improve sexual abuse services and that the agency would be employing eight more people this year.
Cari, a volunteer service providing counselling for children, says it has a waiting list of more than a year.
“People look at me and actually find it hard to believe me that we’re still failing this generation of children who are being abused,” said chief executive Mary Flaherty.
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