Violence and Society seminar poster2


Coming this August (10th & 11th):

CSA Trauma-Informed Care – Training for Birthworkers

Child sexual abuse affects approximately one in three women. It’s safe to assume, therefore, that about a third of the women birthworkers care for will have some experience of sexual abuse. This trauma means that they have additional needs during pregnancy, labour, birth, and the post-partum period.

Given this, it’s astonishing that trauma-informed care does not form part of the core training offered to birthworkers in Ireland. I am, however, delighted to be in a position to address this need with my two-day workshop which deals with the following:

  • What is Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)?
  • The Impact of Child Sexual Abuse on Pregnancy
  • Dealing with Disclosure
  • Issues of Control
  • Power
  • Challenges in Labour and Birth
  • Triggers
  • Clinical Challenges in Labour, and Possible Solutions
  • Postpartum Issues
  • Communication – Verbal, and Non-Verbal
  • PTSD and Other Postpartum Mood Disorders
  • The Potential For Healing
  • Self-Help & Self-Care
  • When the Birthworker is also a Survivor

By the end of the two days, participants will have an awareness of how birth can be an empowering experience for women who have survived sexual abuse – reducing their trauma, and the impact of long-term negative side-effects. These negative effects can include things like

–          Difficulties with mother-child bonding

–          PTSD

–          PND

–          Increased risk of suicide / suicidal ideation

–          Deterioration of Mother’s relationship with partner/wider family/friends

–          Transfer of trauma from Mother to Baby/ies

The NMBI has awarded the workshop 14 CEU, and certificates will be awarded at the end of the second day.

As for me, I am a PhD candidate at Dublin City University, where my area of research is transgenerational trauma with specific regard to child sexual abuse. I hold a BA (Hons) in Psychology and Sociology, an MA in Sexuality Studies, and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Queen’s University, Belfast. In the academic year 2013-2014, I completed a year of research at Trinity College Dublin, where I focused on the effects of child sexual abuse on women during pregnancy and childbirth.

I am very proud of the fact that I was the first accredited doula to work in Ireland, and brought doula training to Ireland, in 2005. In 2015, I published my memoir Gullible Travels, which details my own experiences of CSA (from the age of 3); and the long-lasting impact it has had on me. My two daughters were both born at home – in India, and Singapore, respectively – and I finally stopped breastfeeding when my youngest was five and a half years old.  My skills, experiences, and education, combine to make me ideally placed to offer this training.

Last year, I delivered a series of public lectures on various aspects of CSA to the public, academics, and medical students at Trinity College, Dublin. This was followed up with a lecture to final-year medical students earlier this year.

Places on this one-of-a-kind training, can be secured by clicking this link. In addition to myself, there will be a therapist in attendance on the day, in case any of the participants feel triggered, or the need to step out and be supported.



Meg Kissack, of That Hummingbird Life  kindly invited me on to her Couragemakers’ Podcast. You can listen to what I had to say here. We spoke about Truth Telling,  #MeToo, parenting and books. It’s over an hour long, so there should be enough there to keep you company on your commute.


I’m looking forward to speaking at this event next week:

While my co-panelists will be talking about raising feminist boys, raising feminist girls, and being body positive, I’ll be talking about (surprise!) child sexual abuse. I’ll be addressing how to talk to your children about CSA, as well as ways children disclose, and what signs to look out for.

If you’ll be in Dublin, please feel free to pop along to the Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay. Tickets (€7 each), are available here.

The following Monday (June 19th), I’ll be back in Trinity College, Dublin talking about Child Sexual Abuse. I’m really excited about this, as the lovely, and hugely talented, Deirdre Sullivan and I will be interviewed by Dr Ailise Bulfin, of NUIM (one of my Alma Maters!).  We’ll be talking about our books and how they address the issue of incest. I’m really excited about it, so if you’ll be around Dublin City Centre that evening, please pop along to the  Long Room Hub (which is easily accessible from both the front and the Nassau Street entrances). The event is open to the public, and free, although booking is advised.