Follwoing the publication of reports into child protection practices by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church today, the HSE National Counselling Service (NCS) is offering support and assistance to people who have been affected by clerical child abuse.
The NCS helpdesk can be contacted confidentially on freephone 1800 303 529 from 9am to 12 midnight today, Wednesday 30 November. The helpdesk will be available from 9am to midnight on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd December and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December and thereafter as required.
Callers to the helpdesk can speak in confidence to a helpdesk advisor who will listen and assess their needs in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner. Each caller will be given clear information and advice to allow them to make informed choices regarding the service best suited to meet their particular requirements.
The HSE’s NCS recognises that the publication of such reports can prompt adult survivors of childhood abuse to come forward, in some cases for the first time. Helpdesk advisors are available to support all those who make contact with the helpdesk, to listen to them and help them to decide on how best to proceed with their disclosures.
The NCS is working with the Donegal Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service to provide the helpdesk. The NCS is also working with a number of agencies nationally to ensure that people who make contact with the helpdesk are facilitated in accessing a service appropriate to their needs, whether that is local counselling services in their area, telephone counselling, advocacy or support services provided by a range of agencies.
Tom McGrath, Director of Counselling with the NCS in the North West said, “I would encourage all those affected by the publication of the reports and clerical abuse in general to take this opportunity to contact the helpdesk and find out what is available for victims locally and nationally. This information may be important not only for victims but also for other family members who often carry a great burden of hurt and distress.”
The HSE National Counselling Service helpdesk is available on freephone 1800 303 529.
The National Rape Crisis 24 hour helpline for victims of rape and sexual abuse is available 24 hours, 7 days per week on freephone 1800 778 888.