Ireland’s child sexual abuse Helpline gets no State funding and costs €85,000 a year to run, says Children at Risk Ireland (CARI), who have launched an appeal to cover these costs.

“We’re asking 85 people, groups or businesses to raise €1,000 each to keep these essential lines open,” says CARI chief executive/clinical officer, Emer O’Neill. “The CARI Helpline is the first point of contact and support for anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse or sexualised behaviour. We take calls from parents, professionals and young people who desperately need to talk to someone.”

CARI is the leading Irish charity providing child-centred therapy and support services for children, adolescents and families affected by child sexual abuse. Ms O’Neill says it will be “a hard-hitting campaign based around our experience of operating our Helpline. It will be illustrated with anonymised quotes from Helpline calls.”

“Parents struggle to cope when faced with the unimaginable horror that their child is being sexually abused. They also find it difficult to manage when their children display inappropriate sexualised behaviour. Our Helpline gives them essential support but needs your help to survive and expand.

Tony Delaney & Eimear Considine Back Helpline Appeal

Ms O’Neill says they’re heartened by the response to the campaign. “Before we even launched officially today, we already had about 10 people lined up.” She says it’s also a huge boost to have the support of leading entrepreneur and child sexual abuse survivor, Tony Delaney, who spoke openly about his experiences on the RTE Late Late Show recently.

“As a child sexual abuse victim, I understand first-hand the impacts that it can have on a child’s life and into your adult life,” says Mr Delaney. “We know that children and their loved ones struggle to navigate the effects of the abuse. It often seems like there is nowhere to turn to for guidance or support and I believe CARI’s child sexual abuse Helpline would assist the victim and their families voyage this trauma.”

Mr Delaney says is very proud to join the CARI organisation as an Ambassador. He’s one of four new Ambassadors, who are all supporting the Helpline Appeal. They include Irish rugby player, Eimear Considine; author and abuse survivor, Aisling Creegan; and influencer and university student, Destiny Ayo Vaughan. Eimear Considine, who’s also a secondary school teacher, says she’s “delighted to be on board with CARI and support such a valuable charity, helping children and families in need. They do fantastic work but depend on funding to run their services.”

Aisling Creegan says the #CARIhelpline campaign will help people realise that child sexual abuse is not an ‘historic’ issue. “Children in Ireland are facing sexual abuse every day. We need to stop brushing this under the carpet. No child deserves to be violated.”

Destiny is appealing to the public to take time to learn about CARI and to donate to the Helpline Appeal campaign. “CARI is an organisation which has the resources to give children and their families a fighting chance to heal from something as traumatic as child sexual abuse.”

CARI’s Emer O’Neill says they know it’s a lot to ask people to raise €1,000 each, particularly when so many people are feeling the pinch right now. “But we have lots of advice, tips and resources for them, when they sign up. We have a toolkit for each participant, and we will be supporting them on our social media channels too.”

The CARI Helpline number is 0818 924567 and it’s open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can find out more about CARI on or join the Helpline Appeal on . You can also find CARI on Twitter @cari_ie on Facebook and on Instagram @caricharity