Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 12 Mar 1996

Vol. 462 No. 8

Written Answers. - Sexual Abuse Counselling.

Chris Flood


107 Mr. Flood asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the total inadequacy of sexual abuse counselling services for 16 to 18 year olds; the action, if any, he proposes to take to deal with this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5719/96]

I presume the Deputy is referring to sexual abuse counselling services for the 16 to 18 year old victims of child sexual abuse.

The broad range of counselling services including sexual abuse counselling is available through the health boards community care and social services departments to all victims of child sexual abuse including the 16 to 18 year olds.

In addition specialist investigation and treatment services for persons who have been sexually assaulted or raped — both male and female — are available at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. The unit provides facilities for the effective collection and processing of forensic evidence and a structured environment for the examination and treatment of victims of sexual assault and rape. This service is designed primarily to meet the needs of the population within the functional area of the Eastern Health Board but is also available to persons resident in other health boards areas. Victims of sexual assault and rape outside the Eastern Health Board would also have access to local general practitioner-general hospital services for medical examination and treatment.
Following medical assessment and treatment in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault and rape, victims are referred to support services, both statutory and voluntary, for ongoing counselling and support to deal with the trauma of the asault. Multi-disciplinary teams of health professionals in each health board area provide pyschological support services for victims.
The rape crisis centres throughout the country provide valuable support and counselling to victims of rape and sexual abuse, both male and female. Rape crisis-sexual abuse counselling centres are currently located in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Kerry, Mayo and in Dublin where the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and three Eastern Health Board counselling centres operate. Funding was also made available last year towards the establishment of a new centre in Athlone. All these centres receive funding through the health boards. Services provided by each centre focus predominantly on counselling, both by telephone and on a face-to-face basis, to victims of recent and past rape attacks and to victims of child sex abuse, both male and female.
The Minister provided £20,000 each to the North-Eastern Health Board and the North-Western Health Board in 1995 in whose areas there are at present no rape crisis or counselling centres to assist with the establishment of centres services in these areas.