Green Party deputy leader, Lesley Veronica has spoken out against the cuts to free, centralised counselling for children in NI who have been victims of sexual abuse.

The deputy leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland has expressed deep concern at news today that Nexus, Northern Ireland’s leading organisation providing support to young people impacted by sexual abuse can no longer offer support to 4–7-year olds and have had to pause support for over 60 children aged 8 -16.

“ This news is utterly deplorable. Yet again our children and young people are being let down. Northern Ireland has never had proper access to centralised, government funded support however until now organisations like Nexus have been able to fill that gap. The provision of centralised support is long overdue and the current situation serves to highlight this major shortfall in children’s services.”

Lesley Veronica continues to say “the failure to invest in these services is a false economy. Like many of the other cuts in public services we know that a failure to invest in support services results in other parts of the system picking up the bill further down the line and at a much bigger cost. Trauma which has not been processed leads to many problems in adolescence and beyond including, suicide, self-harm and addiction. In a very real sense both the health service and the justice system will end up picking up a heftier bill in the long term if these services are not provided.”

The Green Party of Northern Ireland joins with Joanne Barnes, CEO of NEXUS in calling for the prioritisation of specialist funding for children who have experienced sexual abuse and reiterates our commitment to fully support the provision of services for all of those who have suffered abuse.