CARI Facing Closure – CARI Chief Executive Clinical Officer (CECO), Emer O’Neill pictured at the press conference above
CARI Facing Closure after 34 years as the only national Child Sexual Abuse agency
National children’s charity CARI (Children At Risk Ireland) had an emergency conference this Wednesday, November 15 to discuss the ‘emergency situation’ which they find themselves in. Without immediate Government funding, they face closure after 34 years as the only national Child Sexual Abuse agency.
CARI Chief Executive Clinical Officer (CECO), Emer O’Neill said, “This follows Tusla’s confirmation on Monday that they will fund just 30% of our €1.1m operating costs for 2024. To be specific, they are only offering us a budget of €337,000. and Tusla say they simply don’t have the funding to give us more. We cannot operate a support service for child victims for sexual abuse and their families no this budget. We will have to begin the process of closing down this week, unless adequate funding is forthcoming now.”
Child sexual abuse remains a fact of life in Ireland today. It is not simply an historical problem. In the first half of 2023 there were nearly 4000 cases of suspected child physical or sexual abuse referred to the Gardai by Tusla. In 2022 there were over 1800 official reports of child sex abuse in Ireland.
The inadequate funding that CARI already receives means children languish on their waiting list for 2 to 3 years. With the huge reduction of their core funding from Tusla forcing the closure, the outcomes for these children would be disastrous. Without the support they need, child victims of sexual abuse are more likely to experience premature death in adulthood through illness, disease, and suicide.
CARI is appealing to the Government including the Department of Health, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability Integration and Youth and the Department of Justice for further funding of €763,000 in 2024.
Should CARI be able to keep its doors open in 2024, the board is putting a five year strategy in place to generate new streams of income. CARI’s Board AGM takes place on November 17.
“Last year, we provided 3175 hours of support to 339 people. Now, in our 35th year, in the nine months between January and October, we already supported 322 people from as young as three-years-old.
“The inadequate funding that CARI already receives means children languish on our waiting list for two to three years.
“With the huge reduction of our core funding from Tusla forcing our closure, the outcomes for these children would be disastrous,” Emer O’Neill concluded.
For more stories on CARI, go HERE