Abusers 'most likely to be family'

Published Monday, 28 July 2014
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A counselling service has said most victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse that contact them say their attackers are family members.

Abusers 'most likely to be family'
The organisation says more needs to be done to support victims of abuse. (© UTV)

Connect, which was set up in 2006, offers a phone counselling service four evenings a week for people throughout Ireland.

It has said that in the first half of this year it has been contacted 2,600 times with 70% of callers saying they have been victims of abuse and almost half of them saying the attacks happened within their family.

It has said calls to its service have increased because of recent high-profile revelations about sex abuse.

However, only 15% of those that contacted the service said the attacks had happened in an institution.

Connect service manager Theresa Merrigan said the figures contradicted a perception that abuse was most common in homes and most people were contacting her service as a last resort.

She said: "What has surprised us is the amount of young people contacting us about abuse in their family home.

"Up to 28% of our callers are under 40 which is very surprising and would indicate more recent abusive experiences."

She also said more needed to be done to provide services for those victims of abuse.

She added: "This is an ongoing concern for the Connect Service which is telephone based and therefore unable to provide callers with all the support that they need.

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"It can be difficult to know where to signpost such callers to as they often have difficult relationships with their local mental health team or psychiatrist."
© UTV News
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