Abused sisters call for emergency public support of CARI

by Rose Barrett
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Five year waiting lists for young victims of child abuse to access services

Three Dublin sisters, Paula, Joyce and June Kavanagh who endured years of sexual abuse by their father have criticised the government’s ‘inaction’ on the issue of child sexual abuse.

Victims of child sexual abuse will store pent up emotions and present with huge societal issues down the line unless adequate, consistent funding is provided to treat and support victims. Currently, the waiting time to access services is about five years.

The Kavanagh sisters from Ballyfermot made their comments as CARI, (Children at Risk in Ireland) a support charity for children who have been sexually abused, launches an emergency public fundraising appeal as its waiting list doubles to longest in its 33-year history.

The Kavanagh sisters Paula, Joyce and June call on the public to support CARI’s urgent appeal now

The charity receives funding from Tusla for its professional, child-centered therapy, support and advice services, but says it is not enough and estimates it will take five years to clear the list if it cannot fund and staff its service adequately

 Speaking ahead of the launch, the Kavanagh sisters said: “We are asking the public to not only support CARI’S emergency fundraising appeal through donating as much as possible but also to put pressure on the government to do the right thing by our children, immediately.

“Let them know that they are elected to put the interests of the people first and their inaction will not be tolerated any longer. Let our voices be heard in the next election. These are our children, and they need our help TODAY”.

The sisters added they are “absolutely appalled and angered to think that children who have been damaged have to wait for five years. This is five more years of no childhood and five more years of self-hatred and pain.

“The abuse we suffered was absolutely horrifying and it is horrifying for us to think of children suffering today. Victims are speaking out more today, but that bravery is stymied by a glaring hole in funding. It perpetuates the vicious cycle as hurt people, hurt people”.

CARI General Manager Colm O’Brien:  

“Our waiting list more than doubled in 2020 alone (from 92 to 198) and we now have 254 children waiting to access vital services. While each case and family is different, it generally takes a family one year to go through our therapy process, and so it will take us five years to clear the list and that’s not taking into account the new referrals made weekly.”

“We are seeking to raise €100k in 100 days. We are consistently amazed by the generosity of the Irish people, they always put out a hand to help and we desperately need their help.

“This current situation is totally unacceptable. CARI is finding itself in an impossible situation as it just cannot see these suffering and frightened children left without help, with nowhere to turn.

“It’s time to let our children know that they matter, that they are really important, so that when they bravely seek out help, help will be there.”

Mr O’Brien noted: “Unfortunately, it normally requires a public outcry for our government to see the light, acknowledge the issues and act on them. The empty lip service will not cut it this time. The government needs to understand the cost of ignoring the problem will yield much bigger problems in time to come, these children need support now!” .

You can donate to: https://www.cari.ie/donate/  This is CARI’s first ever appeal to raise €100K in 100 days. Every euro is needed and needed now

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