Belfast Telegraph

931 abuse survivors seek support

Some 931 adult survivors of child sexual abuse attended a leading support organisation last year, figures reveal.

One in Four said demand for its services remains high, with 182 attending for counselling and 749 for help in dealing with gardai, the Health Service Executive, or going to a criminal trial.

Maeve Lewis, executive director, said it is the responsibility of all adults to report suspected cases of child sexual abuse.

"We have seen the dreadful consequences of secrecy in cases of sexual abuse," Ms Lewis said.

"This is a very positive time for child protection, with a Government committed to finally putting in place robust child protection measures.

"We have the opportunity to create a workable, effective system in which the needs of victims and the protection of children are both attended to."

The One in Four 2010 annual report noted that in addition to the 931 survivors of abuse, 21 sex offenders were also treated through the organisation's treatment programme.

Some 25 families affected by sexual violence were also supported.

Ms Lewis said One in Four makes the protection of children a priority. "Our clients tell us about the people who sexually abused them. This is a very complex issue. We have to balance the needs of vulnerable and distressed adults who have reached out for help against the real possibility that the person who sexually abused them is currently abusing other children.

"We believe this information must be passed to the child protection services if we are honestly to intervene in the cycle of abuse."

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