Irish child abuse report due out
Counsellors are bracing themselves for an onslaught of crisis calls after the latest horrific revelations of a Catholic Church cover-up of clerical sex abuse.
Some of the country's leading victim support services, which saw as much as a 300% surge in calls after the Ryan Report in May, said they were preparing for a similar reaction to the Dublin Archdiocese inquiry.
Maeve Lewis, executive director of One In Four, warned some services were worried about their ability to quickly respond to survivors because of Government funding cutbacks and a recession-led collapse in private donations.
The sex abuse support organisation dealt with almost 700 new clients in the two months after the Ryan Report into child abuse in church-run reformatory and industrial schools - more than doubling their yearly figure.
Demands for emergency funding to cope with the fall-out of the high-profile inquiries fell on deaf ears, said Ms Lewis.
"Therapists were absolutely shattered by the avalanche of the stories and the sadness of the stories last time," she said. "So it's really important to say that despite all the public apologies on the part of the Government and their commitment to provide services for survivors, we and other services did not receive one extra cent to help us cope with this.
"We are very concerned about what is going to happen (with the publication of the Dublin Archdiocese report) in that we're still working through the backlog of the Ryan report, and now we will have an upsurge in numbers again."
Ms Lewis said many who contacted One In Four in the wake of the earlier report had never spoken before about their abuse, and included people whose lives had disintegrated into addiction, homelessness, depression and suicide attempts.
Connect, the National Adults Counselling Service, is extending the hours of its helpline to cope with demand after the Dublin Archdiocese report. Director Anne Richardson said a 39% increase in calls already this year was down to the impact of the Ryan Report.
The Health Service Executive has also launched a special extended counselling helpline while the Samaritans said it was fully prepared for an increase in calls.