Charity which supports children and families affected by child sexual abuse seek volunteers

A charity which provides a support service for children and families affected by child sexual abuse is seeking volunteers.

CARI is recruiting people to train as accompaniment officers to attend and support children and their families through the forensic medical examination at the Galway Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Unit. Children under 14 years are referred there following an acute or historical sexual assault.

Full training and clinical supervision will be given to successful applicants who will be Garda vetted and must live in Galway and be over 21 years.

CARI was set up in 1989 to help children and adolescents affected by sexual abuse and to provide support for family members, carers and professionals. It has two fulltime services in Dublin and Limerick.

It provides a number of support services, including forensic accompaniment whereby a highly trained volunteer forensic accompaniment officer will meet with the child/young person and family/carer when they arrive at the unit. The volunteer will provide an empathic, supportive and informative space to both the child/young person and their family.

This onsite accompaniment service is offered on a 24-hour basis to the sexual assault treatment unit. Day shifts run from 8am to 4pm while evening shifts are for 4pm to 8am.

“CARI recognises that a forensic examination can be a very intense and traumatic time for all involved, whether it is an acute or historical disclosure of sexual abuse,” says a spokesperson for the charity.

“The presence of a forensic accompaniment volunteer can alleviate any concerns or questions a child or family may have and further allows a space for them to talk and be heard. This in turn shows there is an immediate support network available and ongoing aftercare, if sought by the family.”

CARI’s ongoing psychological aftercare support service is offered to any parent/career involved in supporting a child’s needs through the forensic process.

“Our care worker will offer an empathic, non-judgmental supportive space. The service has a client led approach, which allows the family to avail of this service for as long as they need. CARI aftercare leaflets are available at the unit and if deemed appropriate can be given to the family when they leave.

“Furthermore, CARI attempts to align availability of similar psychological support services to children that presently exist for adults.”

An open night will be held on Tuesday November 14 at 6.30pm at Merlin Park Hospital.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Grace at (01 ) 8308529 or email [email protected] The closing date is Friday November 3.

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