Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has appealed for anyone who has been the victim of abuse – or suspects that abuse is taking place – to report it to the PSNI or relevant statutory service.
Mr McGuinness said;
“The recent publicity surrounding the case of Maíria Cahill has again highlighted the issue of sexual abuse within Irish society and I would urge anyone who has any information whatsoever about abuse to bring it forward so that cases can be properly investigated and victims properly supported.
“If, for any reason, victims are reluctant to speak to the police, as was initially the case with Maíria Cahill, there are a number of statutory and voluntary organisations which offer confidential 24-hour helplines through which abuse can be reported.
“These organisations will also help support the victim and help ensure they receive the ongoing after-care which is required.
“As a society, I think we all have to acknowledge that victims of abuse have been failed in the past. Only now is society beginning to accept and deal with the true extent and horror of what has been perpetrated across the island of Ireland.
“However, there are now support structures in place and the relevant agencies are properly equipped to pursue complaints and assist victims. I would again appeal to anyone with concerns about abuse to use them.”
The Nexus Institute which provides support to victims of abuse advise that the following organisations offer 24-hour helplines:
The Rowan: 08003894424
Lifeline 0808 808 8000
The Samaritans 0845 790 9090
Childline 0808 802 1414
NSPCC 0808 800 5000