A Castlebar based support group dedicated to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse says that it has seen an increase in the number of people contacting it for support.
Nick Groom, founder and chairperson of the group SHARE, said he believes the increase is due to the recent media coverage of cases of sexual abuse, such as the case involving Fiona Doyle.
Earlier this week, Ms Doyle welcomed a Court of Appeal decision to increase the prison sentence on her 74-year-old father, who raped her when she was a child.
“We always have people contacting us,” said Mr Groom. “However, there is a noticeable increase when there is extensive media coverage.”
Mr Groom said it can be traumatic and painful for an individual to seek help in dealing with his/her own abuse but he believes media coverage of childhood sexual abuse helps others to come forward and seek help.
Mr Groom said he was sexually abused when he was eight years ago.
He founded SHARE two years ago following his own search for a support group to attend.
“I had held on to my abuse for over 35 years until I couldn’t cope with it any longer,” he said. “I went into therapy and after a while I felt I wanted to talk to others who had been sexually abused too. I wanted to talk to people who understood what I was saying and feeling.”
He decided to start his own group and called it SHARE. The group now holds weekly meetings in GMIT in Castlebar.
Dervilia Culloty co-facilitates the group with Mr Groom.
“It is in a central position and has enabled people to come not just from Mayo, but also Sligo and even Galway,” said Ms Culloty.
The group is open to anyone over the age of 18 who was sexually abused as a child and is seeking support.
Anyone who wishes to find out more about SHARE can contact Nick or Dervilia on (087 ) 1027604.