Voice of survivors must be heard by the justice system – Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has called on the government to double the funding provided to victim support services.
His comments come as 'One in Four' released their annual report which shows that the Department of Justice provided just over 11% of the overall funding for the charity in 2021.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“These figures are staggering to say the least. In 2021 alone, One in Four provided 2,398 individual and group psychotherapy sessions to provide support to those who had experienced sexual abuse in their childhood.
“Having read through their financial statements, it is clear that while the charity does receive funding from a number of state agencies including TUSLA, the HSE, and the Department of Justice, it is simply not enough to allow them meet the demand they are facing.
“In fact, the organisation was forced to close its psychotherapy waiting list for a number of months last year, due to the demand on their services.
“This is a symptom of the wider issue in how the justice system treats survivors of trauma in childhood.
"Criminal cases involving historic abuse are exceptionally difficult for survivors, and can lead to a recurrence of mental illness in those who are particularly vulnerable.
“Survivors have repeatedly described the criminal justice system as re-traumatising and dehumanising.
“As legislators, we need to change that and support survivors in any way we can. Whether that is full and immediate implementation of the Catherine Day report recommendations in respect of the criminal justice system, or a doubling of funding from the Department of Justice, we need to ensure this is prioritised.
“A number of the Catherine Day report recommendations have not been implemented fully as of yet. There have been improvements, however in my mind, we still have some way to go in this respect.
“In terms of improving supports for survivors of childhood abuse, the state has a duty to provide survivors with the mental health support they need in order to come to terms with this most serious of crimes."