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CARI Therapy and Support Services

A child cannot avail of CARI’s therapy and support services directly. A child must be referred by TUSLA, their GP, or another professional. CARI sees children whether the outcome of the assessment is confirmed or inconclusive.  The criteria for referral are as follows;

  • Children who have disclosed sexual abuse and whose disclosure have been investigated by the appropriate authorities.
  • Children who witness reported sexual assaults on a child or adult.
  • Siblings of the above
  • Children affected by information regarding sexual abuse of a child and/or who may have been the confidant of a disclosure provided that the relevant authorities have been informed.
  • Children who have engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with another child, provided that the relevant authorities have been informed. 

A parent can book an individual face to face appointment for support through our Care Line (0818 924 567).  Parents are advised not to bring children to these parent only sessions. In your meeting you may speak with one of our therapists about referring your child. All children attending CARI need to have been assessed by the local social work department, a specialised assessment unit or the Gardaí before engaging in therapy. In your meeting our therapist will help you in making a request for one of these professionals to refer your child to CARI. Where sexual abuse is alleged CARI can only take on cases where the assessment outcome has been confirmed or inconclusive.

It is important in therapy that the child is offered consistent weekly appointments at the same day and time. While your child is on the waiting list it means there is no therapist currently available to offer your child this consistent therapeutic space. When you are offered appointments this is because our therapists may have occasional short term spaces in their work schedule where they can offer meetings with parents or professionals to enable a parent to feel supported during the intervening period. Attending meetings with a therapist while your child is on the waiting list is a good opportunity for you to support your child while they are waiting to be seen.

In CARI we work therapeutically with a child for as long as she/he needs this. Our therapists will work in consultation with parents/carers to decide when the child is ready to finish.

We cannot say the exact outcome for your child as every child is different. Outcomes of therapy are affected by many factors such as the level of parental involvement with the work, the current level of safety of the child, the support in the child’s life. Early intervention makes a difference to the outcome. The goal of CARI’s therapists is to support your child in being able to safely process what happened and move forward without being defined by their abusive experience.

In therapy an important part of the therapeutic relationship is that your child can feel that they can speak honestly with their therapist about anything that is going on, not just the reason they were referred. In the initial stages of therapy your child’s therapist will speak with your child about confidentiality. This means that the therapist will not tell you what your child talks about in sessions.  However there are limits to confidentially:

  • If a therapist is given information that makes them concerned about your child’s safety or the safety of another child.
  • If the therapist believes the client may be a risk to self-harm or have suicidal thoughts
  • If the therapist is informed of an alleged perpetrator’s access to children.

During therapy the therapist will hold regular reviews with the parent/carer to keep them informed of progress and also address any concerns the child may struggle to communicate to parents/carers.

As there are very few services in Ireland that offer this specialised support to children and families we are always in demand from families in need. Unfortunately we cannot give an exact time in relation to waiting lists due to this. As mentioned above every child is given the therapeutic space and time they need.

Knowing that a family member has been abused can affect the whole family.  CARI may also support the siblings of children who have been affected by abuse.

  • Validation or assessment of child sexual abuse
  • Assessment or therapeutic services for adult perpetrators of child sexual abuse
  • Residential services
  • Assessment of child sexual abuse for prosecution or defence in legal proceedings