RCNI and TENI team up to ensure safe counselling for sexual violence survivors

The partnership aims to ensure particular safety for trans victims seeking counselling online.


Rape Crisis Network Ireland and Transgender Equality Network Ireland are working together to ensure that specialist on- and offline rape crisis centres and counselling for survivors of sexual violence continue to be safe, caring and affirming places for trans survivors.

RCNI has been tasked with developing a new training programme for counsellors and therapists to deliver global standard specialist supports for all survivors of sexual violence. The new Clinical Innovation project called ‘Counselling Survivors in an On and Offline World’, focuses particularly on the transfer of sexual violence trauma work to an online setting, and the opportunities and challenges that this presents.

“Rape crisis centres have been safe places for trans survivors of sexual violence for decades,” said Cliona Saidlear, Director of RCNI. “Part of ensuring that remains the case for us is to continually update and review our approach. We are grateful for the advice and active engagement of the LGBTQ+ community who worked with us five years ago in our last review and update of our training packs.”

“RCNI is delighted that TENI is going to be working with us and our Clinical Lead, Dr Michelle Walsh, to ensure the CPD and training for specialist counsellors, that we are developing under the Clinical Innovation review, is fully trans-inclusive and appropriate to this community.”

Over the next nine months, RCNI will be engaging in extensive consultation, starting already with TENI, and particularly focusing on how the shift to online counselling in 2020 has impacted different groups who may face barriers to accessing these services and supports.

TENI’s CEO Éirénne Carroll had this to say on the partnership: “TENI is always working to ensure that there is equal access for trans people to all services and programmes. We will continue to work alongside the RCNI to support and ensure trans people are always treated with affirming care and practical knowledge and understanding. In the coming weeks, we will continue to work together to make sure the needs of trans people are understood and respected and RCNI programs are fully inclusive. RCNI and TENI are committed to ensuring all centres continue to welcome and care for all who are in need of RCNI services, including the trans community.”

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