Deputy Kathleen Funchion has lent her support to the group
A brave woman who survived systematic sexual abuse and rape by her father has set up a survivors support group in Kilkenny.
Marie Barcoe, who lives in Gowran decided to set up the group, along with another woman, as part of a larger national online Survivors Side by Side Support Group.
The group is for survivors of sexual abuse and rape and is for those who have experienced abuse, impartial support and advice.
“The national group was founded three years ago by a group of survivors. We hope to set up a group in every county,” said Ms Barcoe who identified the need for support during her own journey.
“It can be very difficult to report crimes such as rape and sexual assault. We offer a buddy system where someone who has been through the system can accompany you to the garda station or help you through the court process which can be very tough,” she said.
Ms Barcoe praised the work of the Rape Crisis Centre but added that there is a lack of support groups and hopes that the Kilkenny service will help to fill this void at a local level.
“Through the support group you meet with people who have been through a similar story. We also provide people with information packs outlining all the services that are available and the emotional support whereby we give assurances that we will be with people every step of the way.
“We have all been through the system and know how challenging it can be,” she added.
The Kilkenny group meets every Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at the Father McGrath Centre.
Founder Marie Barcoe met with Sinn Féin TD, Kathleen Funchion on Friday to inform her of the group and seek her support.
Deputy Funchion told The Kilkenny People that she had met with two people in relation to the establishment of this group.
“We fully support this group and believe it will be invaluable for support.
“We are helping with the logistical aspects of establishing the group as a charity and any help or support we can offer, we certainly will.
“I commend all the very brave people involved with the establishment of the support group,” added Deputy Funchion.
Cllr Sean Tyrell (Sinn Féin also attended the meeting) and voiced his support for the group.
All are welcome to attend the group on Wednesday evenings or go to the Survivors Side by Side Facebook page.