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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 29 October 2020

Sexual abuse by a family member accounts for 53% of clients - One in Four report

More than 16 per cent of clients are receiving therapy for clerical and institutional abuse.

THE REPORT BY the One in Four group reveals that 53 per cent of people receiving therapy services is for sexual abuse by a family member. This is a significant rise from 2004 figures which stood at 38 per cent.

The group professionally supports men and women who have experienced sexual violence.

Their report found that clerical and institutional sexual abuse accounted for 16 per cent of those in therapy last year. The numbers in therapy in this category has fallen from 37 per cent in 2004.

On average over the last decade 53 per cent of psychotherapy clients have been men and 47 per cent women.

Outside the family

In 2004, sexual abuse by someone from outside the family accounted for 18 per cent of therapy clients, while in 2012, it accounted for just 7 per cent.

Sexual abuse by a stranger stood at just one per cent of clients in 2004, but accounted for 15 per cent of clients in therapy in 2012.

The charity also offers an advocacy service and in 2012, 45 per cent of advocacy clients were abused within the Catholic Church, but the number of  clients abused within their own family has grown  steadily, and now represents 24 per cent of the total.

The One in Four group also has a programme in which sexual abuse offenders can be treated.

The Phoenix Programme treats offenders who enter the group treatment programme and it takes place over eighteen months.

One in Four says the programme “aims to facilitate the client to take responsibility for their offending behaviour”. Following the treatment the client enters a two year aftercare programme.

Sexual abuse offenders

The report shows that in total, 34 individuals engaged in the Phoenix Programme in 2012, with 15 partners/spouses of the offenders attending the support group.

The breakdown shows that of the people who take part in the Phoenix Programme, 60 per cent of the sexual abuse was done to a family member.

The breakdown of the family members shows that sexual abuse of daughters is most common, at 20 per cent, while sons and nieces account for 13.5 per cent. 6.5 per cent of the sexual abuse is to the brother or grandchild of the offender.

Of the people who take part in the programme, 40 per cent abused people outside their families. Internet abuse accounted for 27 per cent, while sexual abuse to a neighbor or stranger stood at 6.5 per cent.

In the report it states that when the group was established the abuses of the Catholic Church dominated the agenda, but this has fallen back over the years. They state:

It is also regrettable that the garda investigation  into the cover-ups in Dublin and Cloyne has not  resulted in the criminal conviction of even one  senior Churchman who facilitated the activities of sex offender priests.

In 2003, only 4 per cent of their advocacy work involved child protection notifications to the HSE, but today that has increased to 25 per cent. This reflects a growing awareness, they stated.

Litany of failures in how HSE dealt with child’s abuse allegations>

One in five women experience unwanted sexual conduct, but just 3 per cent report it>

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