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Over 1,300 abuse survivors received counselling under Catholic Church service

Towards Healing’s first annual report says that over 28,000 counselling sessions were provided last year.

Image: David Jones/PA Wire

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH agency Towards Healing provided counselling to over 1,300 abuse survivors between February and December 2011, according to its first annual report.

Meanwhile, its helpline responded to almost 12,000 calls over that period.

The service was set up last year to provide counselling and support services to the survivors of abuse by members of the clergy, religious organisations and other people working for the Catholic Church in Ireland. It was set up as an alternative to the earlier Faoiseamh service set up in 1996.

The report says that there is no waiting list for the organisation’s services and that once a client registers with it, they “will be in direct contact with a therapist within days”.

Outlining the organisation’s expenditure for its first 11 months in existence, the report says that over 28,000 face-to-face counselling sessions were provided at an average cost of €70 per session. The therapy was provided by 700 independent therapists.

While 8 per cent of Towards Healing’s budget was spent on administration costs, the remainder was spent on the clinical support of clients.

The report says that while clients can receive up to 80 counselling sessions through the service, most left counselling after about 40 sessions. Demand for counselling increased steadily per month throughout 2011 and a more significant increase was registered following the publication of the Cloyne report.

There was an almost equal level of referrals for both men and women, at 49 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

Of those who received counselling services through Towards Healing, three-quarters were abuse survivors, 16 per cent were the children of abuse survivors and 8 per cent were partners of abuse survivors. The remainder were the parents and siblings of abuse survivors.

Read: Child abuse helpline sees large increase in calls >

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