50% increase in counselling service calls in wake of Ferry abuse case

It's emerged that referrals to the HSE's National Counselling Service for adults with a history of child abuse have risen substantially in Donegal since the conviction of paedophile Michael Ferry last month.

The Director of Counselling with the NCS in the North West says since a publicity drive was launched in the wake of the Ferry conviction, referrals to the service in the county have increased by 50%.

Tom Mc Grath says staff in the Donegal office have been very busy getting back to people who have called the freephone number, and are arranging initial meetings for those who wish to be seen.

He says some callers do not want counselling, and just want advice and reassurance that the service is there if they need it. Counselling can take place at the service's office in Letterkenny, or at outreach clinics in Dungloe, Donegal Town and Buncrana.

While referrals can be made through GPs and the mental health services, the HSE encourages clients to refer themselves, saying it can be an act of independence and empowerment.

The National Counselling Service in Donegal can be contacted at 1800 234 119 between 9.15am and 5.15pm.

This afternoon, the North West Counselling Service Director told Highland Radio News that the publicity around the Ferry case may be proving very difficult for some survivors, and he is urging anyone in that position to make contact.

Tom Mc Grath says while most of the new calls are coming from victims, that's not always the case......

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