FUNDS: Vera O’Leary, Director of the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. Photo: Michelle Crean


By Michelle Crean

The Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre are this year’s beneficiaries of the Kerry Garda Black Tie Gala Ball.

Director of the service, Vera O’Leary, who has been at the helm of the centre for the last 27 years, says they are absolutely delighted to be nominated this year.

“We work very closely with the Gardai especially the new Protective Services Unit,” Vera told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We’re delighted to be nominated. We have a really strong working relationship with the Gardai, it’s very important for us to have a mutual understanding of different roles. These funds will go directly to crisis counselling services. For every €100 raised that will enable us to deliver an additional 2.5 hours of counselling sessions.”

She added that historically there’s been a low level of reporting abuse.

“Having that relationship with the Gardai enables more of the clients to come forward and report and know that they’re going to be treated in a respectful manner.”

She added that there’s been many changes to the service over the last 27 years, with younger people now more than ever needing help.

“Society has changed drastically over this time. Young people are becoming highly sexualised now. We deal with age 14 upwards. People are finding it easier to talk and hopefully every year more victims will come forward.”