“The secret of change is not to focus all of your energy on
the old, but on building the new.”
Did you know that there are an estimated 1 Million Irish citizens living with the impacts of sexual abuse? Imagine the change that we could make if we all stood together!
Inspired by the recent repeal the 8th campaign and the bravery of those women that told their stories and the impact that had on our politicians we are launching our ‘Count Me In! Survivors of Sexual Abuse Standing Together for Change’ campaign to call on our legislators to bring in real and lasting changes to the issues surrounding sexual abuse cases.
The “Count Me In!” campaign is about harnessing the collective power of those who have directly suffered sexual abuse, their families, partners and friends. We wish to encourage everyone that is impacted to share their stories with politicians in order to bring about real and lasting change. This is the only way to ensure that future generations do not have these types of stories to share.
Why We're Starting This Campaign
We have been involved in highlighting the crime of childhood sexual abuse and its devastating impacts since 1990. Sadly, our experiences of gaining access to supports, bringing charges against our father, and going through the judicial system, were all very negative experiences. Tragically, almost thirty years later, they continue to be inadequate and distressing for those victims who make the brave decision to come forward and tell their stories.
Unfortunately, there remains a lack of political will to drive the necessary legislation and policies to make real and lasting changes in the area of sexual abuse crimes.
We have witnessed big changes taking place over the last year around the world, with more and more people demanding justice and equality for all. Even more importantly for us here at home, is the growing understanding of the power we have when we stand together for change.
We have created the Count Me In! campaign, with the belief that the time is right for us to come together and we are asking everyone to get involved in calling for the much-needed legal reforms in the area of sexual abuse, so that all victims of this crime receive justice.
Ireland has the opportunity to show the world once again, that we care about all our citizens equally. We can demonstrate that we are willing to have those uncomfortable and difficult discussions to ensure a fairer outcome for all. We desperately need a greater understanding of sexual crimes and how best to support victims and treat perpetrators if we ever hope to eradicate this heinous crime.
The Need for The Count Me In! Campaign
To most people sex crimes are the worst crime you could ever commit. This is especially true when a child is involved.
The statistics on child sexual abuse in Ireland are outdated and totally inaccurate. It is also important to note that sex abuse is the most under-reported crime globally.
It’s not too far a stretch to say that with our current population of 4.773 million people, and using the outdated statistics that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their past. This gives us a conservative estimate of at least 1 million citizens in Ireland who are currently living with the impacts of sexual abuse.
And if an abuser only abused one child (which is unlikely) then there are at least a million abusers. That is a staggering number of individuals suffering with little or no support available to them.
Time For Change
We now want to focus our energy on changing the society we live and raise our children in. What has happened in the past and continues to happen to those most vulnerable in our communities cannot be allowed to continue.
We have witnessed through the repeal the 8th campaign that policy makers are willing to engage and fight for the rights of all, if they are armed with the right information and if there is enough of us.
What This Campaign Is Calling For
We are requesting the following changes that we believe will greatly improve the lives of those who have been impacted by or experienced sexual abuse.
We will be asking for the following changes to be implemented by our legislators to ensure that the issues surrounding abuse are being tackled from all perspectives:
- Provide adequate funding to Rape Crisis Centres, One in Four and CARI to not only eliminate waiting lists, but also fund the much-needed expansion of their services. Did you know that the Dublin Rape Crisis Centrer (DRCC) have a waiting list of at least nine months for people to access their services. CARI, who support children who have experienced sexual abuse have over 100 children on their waiting lists. One in Four, who support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, are also struggling to meet the needs presented to them due to lack of funding.
- Fund a second SAVI report so that accurate information is made available to assist the much-needed strategic planning, development and implementation of services for victims, their families and offenders countrywide.
- Provide specialised training for all those who come into contact with or are required to support victims of abuse (Judicial, Garda and frontline workers).
- Use the following guidelines to ensure consistency in sentencing of all sex offenders.
- When sentencing, no consideration should be given to sex offenders for age, health or their standing in the community;
- If sentencing is to run concurrently the amount of charges must be considered and the sentence must be lengthened adequately to ensure justice is served;
- Incentives to reduce the length of sentence, remission and or temporary release should to be linked to the offenders’ participation and engagement in an evidenced based treatment programme;
- Treatment to be available to offenders both in prison and following their release, this will support their reintroduction in to society and reduce the risk of reoffending;
- Expert witness to be called in all sexual abuse cases to ensure courts understand victim behavior
How Do I Get Involved?
It’s simple, you can just write about how your experience of sexual abuse has impacted your life and/or the lives of those around you and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take care of the rest.
If you are a non abusing parent- sibling-partner-friend-colleague you too have a role to play. Write your story about how trying to provide support to a someone you care for that has suffered sexual abuse impacts your life. Than send it to us at email@example.com and we’ll take care of the rest.
Don’t worry about grammar or spelling just simply tell your story!
Alternatively you can download the template letter, add your story into the body of the letter and email to The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan and the main political party leaders and get your voice heard. Tell them to ‘Count Me In!’
Tell Your Own Story
We want everyone to tell their stories in whatever way is comfortable for them. Tell as little or as much as you feel able.
Use The Campaign
We have developed a campaign template letter for you to personalise and with space to include your own story.
You can attach your completed letter to your email and include the template cover email and sent it to The Minister For Justice, Charlie Flanagan and copy in the other party leaders and all email addresses are listed below.
This is a an example of the campaign template letter.
Download These Templates
and Add Your Voice!
Send Your Story
When your letter is complete attach to an email addressed to the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan (copy the ministers email address Info@justice.ie into the send bar).
To make as many politicians aware of this campaign, we suggest you CC this list of party leaders into your email. And also, feel free to add your local representative TD or Councillor or any others that hold public office on our behalf.
Copy and Paste This List of Email Addresses
Into The Cc Field of Your Email
One More Thing..........
Don’t forget to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of the numbers of letters sent.
You do not have to share you letters with us. We simply wish to keep note of how many letters get sent for the campaign. Then hit send on your campaign email!
To really help us spread the word about this campaign and to get as much support as possible to bring about the changes we’re calling for everyone to spread the word on social media.
Use the hashtag #CountMeInIRE as much as you can on posts you make on any social media channels. And don’t forget to share this website page too!
Facebook Profile Image
You can also support the Count Me In campaign by adding the campaign logo to your Facebook profile image.
Just click on this link and follow the easy to use instructions to add the campaign frame to your Facebook profile image.