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Ms Maeve Lewis
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2019 Recipient of Outstanding Achievement UL Alumni Award – Society

 

Maeve Lewis is CEO of One in Four, an NGO providing professional psychotherapy and advocacy services to men and women who have experienced child sexual abuse  as well as a pioneering treatment programme for sex offenders. It is the only organisation in Ireland to work with survivors of child sexual abuse and their families and also to offer a sex offender intervention programme in order to break the cycle of child sexual abuse. 

 

Maeve and her team work relentlessly to shine a light on the ubiquitous but hidden problem of child sexual abuse in Ireland. She engages with policy makers at all levels to ensure that legislation and statutory processes reflect the needs of survivors of child sexual abuse, and has been influential in effecting positive changes.  She regularly takes part in media discussions to raise public awareness of the issue.

 

A proud Tipperary woman, Maeve Lewis grew up outside Nenagh. Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies from the University of Limerick (then NIHE) in 1979, she completed a H. Dip. Ed in Trinity College Dublin and worked for several years as a teacher. Maeve subsequently completed a BA (Hons) in Psychology in UCD and trained as a psychotherapist.  She went on to work in a number of organisations throughout her career, including the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, specialising in sexual trauma.

 

Maeve has also extensive experience overseas, developing and delivering culturally appropriate trauma counsellor training courses in post-conflict situations in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.  The counsellors she trained provide support to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women and men on earth, all of whom are severely traumatised through having suffered unimaginable crimes. In 2015, she appeared before the International Criminal Court as an expert witness in sexual violence. This work involved Maeve giving evidence to hearings of the Court on the basis of testimonies she gathered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2015. Kevin Kelly, Irish Ambassador to the Netherlands added “Maeve is one of the few Irish experts to be recognised by the Court in this way. Such was the quality of Maeve’s engagement in the court hearings that she has been invited back on a number of occasions by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC to give training courses to legal staff. 

 

Since 2003, One in Four has provided professional counselling services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. These critically important services include individual and group psychotherapy programmes for victims, as well as advocacy services for people who need support in their interaction with the criminal justice system. In 2018, psychotherapy services were provided to 121 individuals and 25 group participants.

 

Under Maeve’s leadership, One in Four also works with offenders, having identified a gap in support for non-convicted offenders. One in Four’s innovative sex-offender intervention programme is unique in its field, with 52 sex offenders attending last year as part of a key child protection strategy at One in Four.

 

Devoting her career to dealing with Ireland’s legacy of abuse, Maeve Lewis has been at the forefront of developing progressive solutions to the complex fallout of sexual violence and effective child protection strategies.  She is passionate in striving to make Ireland a society where children are safe from sexual harm.  She is also rightly proud that she and her team are contributing to a cultural shift in Irish society on attitudes and perceptions of child sexual abuse.

 

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