New training for Tipperary based counsellors to provide specialist supports for rape survivors

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

41% increase in students seeking counselling

New training for Tipperary based counsellors to provide specialist supports for rape survivors

Zoom Q&A on Government supported, free training opportunity for counsellors and therapists takes place next Monday, January 25th. Go to www.rcni.ie

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) has launched a new training and research programme to ensure there is standardised and specialist counselling for victims of sexual violence, both on and off-line, following the impact of Covid-19.

The pioneering programme is co-created with Dr Jessica Taylor, UK based forensic psychologist, survivor and author of the best-selling book Why Women Are Blamed for Everything. It is specifically designed to address issues which have emerged during the Covid-19 lockdown, after many Rape Crisis Centres like the Tipperary Rape Crisis Centre for example, had to be vacated and trauma counselling services had to move on-line.

Counsellors throughout Tipperary are now invited to register for the new training and research programme, which will be CPD accredited and which is completely free to participants. The programme is fully supported by Rethink Ireland, through the Innovate Together Fund, which is a collaboration between Rethink Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

A special Q&A workshop will take place by zoom this Monday, January 25th, from 10:30 am to 12 noon. Counsellors and therapists can register to attend and places can be booked here. Even if counsellors and therapists can’t attend the Q&A, the advice is to register and RCNI will send on vital follow-on information.


Dr Michelle Walsh, the RCNI’s Clinical Programme Lead who is working from Clonmel, said that the change in the provision of counselling services had a profound impact on the quality and impact of the deep intervention needed for survivors. There was a 23% increase in contacts made to Rape Crisis Centre Helplines and while almost all of those already in counselling in the centres could switch to remote counselling, some could not and so hybrid counselling is critical, Dr Walsh said.

“While there is some optimism that a vaccine for Covid-19 may mean a return to some normality in 2021, the impact of Covid and dealing with the trauma of sexual violence within a global shared trauma of a pandemic is not going to disappear,” she said.

“Remote trauma counselling is here to stay as part of a new hybrid model of on- and off- clinical counselling,” Dr Walsh continued. “But it’s vital that we know that what we are doing in this new era of on- and off-line counselling is working, is of the highest possible standard, and is completely survivor centred.”

The new RCNI programme combines both research and training. The programme will gather evidence and understanding about the impact of dealing with the trauma of sexual violence in a pandemic world and how practitioners have responded. Then, it will deliver a CPD recognised training programme, based on this evidence, to provide specialist learning and upskilling to counsellors, so that survivors can be confident that the services they are accessing, whether in person or remotely, are of the highest quality.

The training will be recognised as best practice by key stakeholders including Government and a register will be created for all those working with survivors who have completed the training.