I am a clinical psychologist who has worked in the public health services in Ireland for many years, mostly in services for children or adults who have experienced sexual abuse. I have served on the Boards of Crime Victims Helpline, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and One in Four. I am a past president of the Psychological Society of Ireland and currently Chair of the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations (EFPA) Specialist European Awarding Committee for psychologists specialising in psychotherapy. I have a particular interest in professional training and have had the opportunity to work on training programmes for clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, social care workers and psychotherapists. I am currently a Board member of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).
This project is about understanding young people's experiences of disclosing sexual abuse. We are interested in (1) the factors that stop or help young people disclose sexual abuse (2) the perceived and actual outcomes of telling, and young people's perspectives on the legal and social systems involved following their disclosure (3) whether the legal and social actions that follow disclosure of SA reduce the risk of further victimizations in adolescence; and (4) the extent to which young people's experiences of remembering and their capacities to reflect on their experiences influence patterns of disclosures.
This is a multi-site, collaborative project between DCU and Universities in Montreal and Toronto, Canada (McGill University, Université du Québec à Montréal, and University of Toronto). Young people, aged 14 to 25 who have experienced sexual abuse before age 18, will be recruited from various public health, social services, and community agencies across four major cities: Dublin, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Participants will include 20 young people from each of these cities, for a total of 80 participants. Participants will take part in 45-60 minute interviews that will ask them about their experiences of disclosing the abuse. This study will therefore allow for specific analyses across participants' cultures and social/legal systems (Irish, French Canadian and English Canadian).
Unlike many European countries, there is little provision of school psychological support / counselling for children attending primary schools in Ireland who are experiencing psychological distress, although this is currently available to secondary school students. We know that many children are referred each year to statutory psychology services and family support services for psychological intervention in relation to a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. It is not known, however, the extent of children's needs across the country, and the extent of service provision. Through the use of a national survey with primary school principals in Ireland, this study will establish the perceived demand for counselling provision for primary school children in Ireland and provide an overview of how this demand is met. Interviews will be conducted with school principals and counsellors in a small number of primary schools that currently provide counselling support for students. This we hope will capture the national landscape at the present time with regard to counselling needs and provision in primary schools in Ireland. It is hoped that the findings will inform policy in developing school counselling at the primary level in Ireland.
Content to be added
- "How to talk with children about difficult topics", The Last Word with Matt Cooper, (6th May, 2015)
- Marion Finucane Show, (Sept 2015)
- "Talking with children", Marian Finucane, (May 2013)