ACCORD reports 12% increase in demand for its marriage counselling service during 2011

30 Dec 2012

Counsellors working with ACCORD, the Catholic marriage care service, delivered 49,000 counselling sessions during the calendar year 2011, an increase of 12% when compared to the preceding year of 2010. ACCORD serves the pastoral needs of couples at different stages of their relationship through its two key and separate services: marriage preparation courses, and, marriage and relationship counselling. In addition ACCORD offers relationship and sexuality education through its schools’ programmes.
Key data published today from the ‘ACCORD Annual Report 2011’ includes:

  • 800 ACCORD volunteers work as marriage facilitators and marriage counsellors
  • Over 7,000 couples attended ACCORD marriage preparation courses, a small increase on the 2010 figure. ACCORD remains the principal provider of marriage preparation courses in Ireland for couples choosing the Sacrament of Marriage
  • 49,000 counselling hours delivered – an increase of 12% on 2010
  • 31 marriage preparation facilitators graduated with a Certificate in Marriage Education
  • 26 people were selected and sent forward for training as facilitators
  • 31,284 students attended ACCORD Schools’ Programmes
  • Government funding to ACCORD cut by 10%
  • 30% of ACCORD clients heard about ACCORD from family, friends or work colleagues
  • 8% of referrals to ACCORD came from doctors

Marriage Education Service
in 2011 over 7,000 couples attended ACCORD marriage preparation courses, a small increase on the 2010 figure. ACCORD is the principal provider of marriage preparation courses for people choosing the Sacrament of Marriage. Most people obtain information about ACCORD from a priest, on the websites and and via Google ad words.

Marriage and Relationship Counselling
ACCORD is the largest agency in Ireland providing marriage and relationship counselling through its sixty centres which are located throughout the island of Ireland. In 2011, ACCORD delivered 49,000 counselling sessions, an increase of 12% on 2010.
The figures for 2011 show an increase of 10% in the numbers experiencing financial difficulties which now affects 65% of people coming for counselling to ACCORD. The fastest growing area of difficulty for couples is the amount of time being spent on the Internet. 28% of couples cited use of phone texting as a problem in the relationship.
Domestic Violence Counselling continues to be a priority area of support for ACCORD. A new programme for working with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence counselling is nearing completion. This initiative will form the basis for the selection and training of new domestic violence counsellors and ongoing training for current domestic violence counsellors.
ACCORD is committed to annually providing a minimum of eight hours continuous professional development for its members.
Schools’ Programme (Training for the pilot programme)
A new development in 2011 was the decision to extend, on a pilot basis, the Primary Schools’ Relationship and Sexuality programme. Eleven facilitators were selected and are bring trained to assist with this.

Social justice for marriage and family
Irish families are under intense pressure because of unemployment, mortgage difficulties, negative equity, increased taxation and rising fuel costs. In the context of such difficult circumstances it is essential that support is available to those who need it. Marriage and family are the essential bedrock of society having intrinsic importance in their direct contribution to the well-being of our nation. It is imperative that all of us who are committed to social justice should not lose sight of this reality.

Supporting ACCORD
In its 2011 Annual Report, ACCORD thanked the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for its generous support by way of financial assistance and through the provision of premises, as well acknowledging the Family Support Agency of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs as its major source of funding. ACCORD also operates with the support of the Health Service Executive (RoI) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI) and various Trusts.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of ACCORD which was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The first ACCORD centre opened in Belfast in 1962. Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin, is President of ACCORD.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Martin Long 00 353 (0) 86 1727678.