Wait for historical abuse counselling ‘up to three years’ in Wales
Over the last two years, three of the four police forces in Wales have seen a 50% increase in the volume of individuals contacting them with historic abuse complaints.
In 2013 the South Wales, North Wales and Gwent forces were contacted by 793 individuals with complaints, compared to 515 complaints in 2011 (Dyfed-Powys Police were not able to provide figures).
The Survivors Trust believes that publicity over high profile offenders has resulted in a significant increase in individuals seeking help, which in turn has put tension on therapy services who are struggling to cope with the increasing demand.
After discovering that an estimated 2000 people were waiting for talk therapy (with some waiting up to three years) with one of its member organisations, The Survivors Trust has warned that some victims could give up trying to seek help at all.
The Welsh government has pledged more funding to relevant charities and has said they are willing to consider contributing more.
The trust’s national development manager for Wales, Johanna Robinson has said that for abuse victims to hear that there isn’t going to be a service available to help them for at least a year could be devastating:
“That will also re-traumatise the victim and this could mean that person doesn’t have the faith to carry on [trying to get support].”
Children’s commissioner Keith Towler has also expressed concerns, saying that while there is some fantastic work going on in counselling services, there simply isn’t enough of it.
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, he said he was taking the matter very seriously and was in active talks with the Welsh government to make sure good counselling services were available to people in need:
“We need to make sure that when people come forward, talking about really serious issues, bringing evidence forward in relation to historical sexual abuse, we need to make sure that it’s bigger than a police or criminal response,” he said.