Over the past twenty-five years the Church’s counselling service ‘Towards Healing’, and its forerunner ‘Faoiseamh’, have provided support to almost 7,000 survivors of institutional, clerical, and religious abuse, and to members of their families.
During the Armagh Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady Queen of Ireland, Knock, Bishop Michael Router celebrated Mass for Trinity Sunday on 30 May and acknowledged the 7,000 survivors, and family members, who have availed of Towards Healing since its inception in 1997.
Speaking about the importance of the counselling service to survivors, Bishop Router said, “We are all too aware that many people here in Ireland and abroad, have suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of clergy and religious. For too long they suffered in isolation, without being heard, acknowledged, or helped. Over the past twenty-five years, however, the Church has, through the organisation ‘Towards Healing’ that it funds, and its forerunner ‘Faoiseamh’, provided a counselling service that almost 7,000 people have availed of, survivors of institutional, clerical, and religious abuse and members of their families. The service has a network of counsellors in Ireland and abroad which it engages to provide essential therapy to those who have suffered such abuse.”
The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh continued, “Towards Healing is a free service available to survivors and one that is based on the values of compassion, empowerment, and hope. The compassion comes from a humble recognition of the trauma and suffering experienced by survivors and how it permeates all areas of their lives. ‘Towards Healing’ provides support that endeavours to empower survivors to reclaim and rebuild their lives. It gives them hope that they will find healing and develop the resilience to live their fullest possible lives.”
Towards Healing is jointly funded by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and by the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland and, in 2011, succeeded the Faoiseamh counselling service which had been in operation since 1997. Towards Healing is provided by lay, independent fully accredited therapists.