People are asked to share their experiences in a survey
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) has launched a new national survey aimed at survivors of sexual violence and those who are supporting survivors throughout the country.
The survey focuses on survivors’ experiences of counselling and psychotherapy in a world that has been changed utterly by the pandemic. It will be live until April 12. So far, nearly 300 survivors across the country have completed it. The survey can be accessed on rcni.ie
It forms a critical part of RCNI’s new comprehensive programme of work called Counselling Survivors in an On & Offline World aimed at ensuring that there is standardised and specialist counselling for survivors of sexual violence and harassment fit for a post-pandemic world in Ireland. RCNI believes that remote trauma counselling is here to stay as part of a new hybrid model of on and off-line clinical support for survivors.
The survey comes at a poignant moment in time also with the focus on the safety of women and girls following the murder of Sarah Everard in London.
“The survivors’ survey we are launching this week is central to our understanding of how counselling is working, or not working, for them, particularly over this past tumultuous year,” said Dr Michelle Walshe, who is the RCNI Clinical Programme Lead on the global leading project.
“We are asking survivors and people who are supporting them to fill out our easy to use survey. It will take less than 10 minutes, yet those 10 minutes will feed into the development of training that can ensure that counselling in this country is completely fit for purpose for the new hybrid world we are entering into,” she continued
“It also means that survivors will have real choice in how they want to receive counselling in the future. As our survey to date has shown, there are huge advantages to on-line counselling, but there are things we have to address and know more about to be certain that it is working.”
The survivors’ survey follows a major survey of over 750 counsellors and psychotherapists throughout Ireland, and with the collaboration of all the main organisations providing counselling and training.
It found that 79% of respondents said that it was important to have specialism in sexual violence. However, less than half said that their knowledge of misogyny and gender roles was good, indicating a gap between understanding of root causes of sexual violence and the desire for specialism and standardisation in training.
The programme emerged from the experience of the initial Covid-19 lockdown a year ago when Rape Crisis Centres had to be evacuated and when trauma counselling services had to move on-line, almost overnight.
The initiative is supported by Rethink Ireland, through the Innovate Together Fund, a collaboration between Rethink Ireland the Department of Rural and Community Development. The Fund supports charities’ innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis that will provide lasting change.