Hunter welcomes decision to extend Nexus counselling contract

health cara hunter Nexus

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has welcomed a decision to extend counselling for sexual abuse victims by Nexus.

Ms Hunter submitted an urgent oral question to the Health Minister after it was announced the Department for Health had ended its contract with Nexus without a replacement service in place.

Ms Hunter asked Minister Robin Swann to ensure that we never end up in the same situation in the future.

East Derry MLA Ms Hunter said:

“This announcement by the Health Minister following my urgent question in the Assembly on Monday will be a huge relief to victims of sexual abuse who rely on this counselling to support them. News that free counselling services were being removed had caused great uncertainty, with hundreds of people in crisis referred to Nexus each month for help.

“In the days since the initial announcement we have heard from numerous victims and survivors about just how important these services have been in helping them rebuild their lives. Anyone who goes through the horrendous ordeal of abuse will be left with long-term impacts and I dread to think what could have happened if this support was not restored.

“I welcome the Minister’s swift action to extend the contract with Nexus for another year, but he must now ensure that we do not find ourselves back in this position in future. We need a long-term approach to supporting victims of abuse that ensures people can access counselling services for free when they need them. This decision following pressure by the SDLP Opposition team shows that we can achieve positive change for people when highlighting important issues.”

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