waterford rape and sexual abuse centre



Frequently Asked Questions

What is counselling?

Counselling is the process of talking about personal problems on an ongoing basis.  You and your counsellor will develop a relationship based on safety and confidentiality.  At your own pace you can look at the impact the abuse has had on you, and counselling will assist you to come to terms with your past and enable you to move forward to a more positive future.

Is it completely confidential?

Anything disclosed within the counselling session is confidential.  However, in common with most other agencies, we have 2 exceptions to confidentiality.  These are:

  • If you inform you counsellor of ongoing abuse of a minor.
  • If your counsellor becomes aware that you are at risk of harming yourself or others.

In both situations your counsellor will explain to you why a break in confidentiality is warranted before any action is taken.

If I contact your Centre do I have to report to the Gardaí?

No.  While it is a major concern of ours that so few victims report the crime to the Gardaí, and even though we encourage everyone to report, we are there to help you look at all your options.  If you decide to report we will support you throughout the legal process.  If your choice is not to report then we totally respect that decision.

What should I do if somebody tells me they have been or are being sexually abused?

At present you have no legal obligation to do anything.  However, if you do not take action the abuse may continue and other children may be at risk.

You should contact your local Community Care Centre and tell them your concerns.  The social worker will want to know the reasons you have for believing or suspecting that a child is being abused.  She will also want your name but this will remain confidential.  She will then investigate the situation and take action, if necessary.

What should I do if I have been raped?

If you have been raped and want to report to the Gardaí you should not wash or shower before having a forensic examination, as this will destroy evidence.  You should also keep the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked.

If you do not wish to report to the Gardaí, you still need to see a doctor as soon as possible.  While the idea of a physical examination may be distressing, you do need to look after your physical health, and it is important to have a pregnancy test and to arrange for screening for sexually transmitted infections.

Is there a charge for counselling?

No, our services are provided free of charge.  You will be invited to make donations to the Centre as a means of valuing the service you receive.  However, if you truly cannot afford to do so we will understand.

Will I have to talk about the abuse in detail?

Some survivors feel they need to speak about what happened to them.  However, you will not be pressured to tell in any way, and you decide when you are ready to do so.  Others, however, don’t feel it is necessary to their recovery to relate the details of their abuse.  You and your counsellor will together decide the best path for you.

Do you see children?

We can see people under the age of 18 only with the permission of their parents or social worker.  Help is available for children through the local Community Care Centres.

© Martin Quigley

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