- Male client referred by police for non-recent CSE from football coach, case also includes a number of other victims from around the same time. Client had been approached by the police as part of an ongoing investigation
- Client had struggled for many years with the impact of the sexual abuse and had been unable to acknowledge or discuss it. The impact of this plus the police investigation led to the client asking for more support hence being referred to the ISVA service.
- Client was given regular emotional support as well as advice around the criminal justice system procedures via texts, emails, phone calls and face to face visits as appropriate. Advice given on counselling options and talking to family and friends.
- ISVA liaised with witness care and police to arrange a pre-trial visit and parking.
- Client asked for ISVA support in court – arranged court seating for ISVA and client’s wife via police.
- Case took place over 8 weeks, emotional support given in this time.
- Clients trial date and court location was moved the week before he was due to give evidence, ISVA liaised with the police and gave emotional support. Due to ISVA no longer being able to support at rearranged time alternative support was offered but declined.
- Client informed whilst on holiday that no verdict had been reached and a retrial had been set for the following year. Emotional support given and discussed preparation leading up to the retrial.
Despite the long wait until the court date and disappointing outcome of a retrial the client has made positive steps. He has progressed from not being able to acknowledge the abuse to being able to talk about it more freely and has sought support from a counsellor in order to process his thoughts. The pre court visit enabled him to feel empowered and ready to face the trial with more confidence. Even with the re-trial the client feels that he does not want to give up and that his resilience has improved, having been through the process already. The client feels his relationship with friends and family has improved as he now feels more confident acknowledging the abuse as well as setting boundaries around what he would rather not discuss. Having started a high pressured job during the investigation and initially feeling overwhelmed the client now believes his confidence has returned and is doing well and looking ahead to the future. He has been asked to visit the Football Association to acknowledge his experience and help improve the safety and experience for future generations of children entering in to football.
The client said he was hugely grateful for the support of the ISVA service particularly in answering questions about the CJS process and helping to iron out any problems that occurred along the way and mostly just for always ‘being there’ in the background when needed.
- Police referral (ongoing marital rape & DA, suspect also sexually abused children) – client highly traumatised (police note).
- Client engaged with ISVA service – appointment made for same day.
- Initial assessment made and support plan put in place. Emotional support and support for upcoming VRI. Trauma appointment offered and accepted.
- VRI – client highly traumatised lots of emotional support given around client’s understanding of what happened to her.
- Trauma appointment attended.
- Appointment, client disclosed child protection issue (suspect having access and occasional sole charge of 3 grandchildren). Discussed breaching confidentiality and my duty of care.
- Reported to our Child Protection Officer and then reported disclosure to investigating officer and Child Protection Issue recorded.
- Updated client and Child Protection Officer. Offered ISVA support for daughter.
- Client’s daughter requested ISVA support – referred to ISVA colleague.
- Appointment, discussed referral to You trust (local domestic abuse service) for support, client agreed.
- Contacted You trust and client referred for immediate support.
- Client to attend Recovery Toolkit Programme – attended and completed.
- Supporting letter provided for help with benefits.
- Ongoing support.
- CPS decision not to charge, client exercising their right to review.
- Final decision for CPS not to charge – support given.
- Final appointment – offered to refer for counselling (declined). Offered to refer for counselling in the future if needed – file closed.
Despite the final CPS decision, the client has made enormous steps forward. They are now working again, in a happy and functional relationship and can see a future for themselves without the burden of a secret they have been holding for many years.
The client has said they could not have achieved this without the input from the BRASACC ISVA Service, particularly the support at the VRI and ongoing support throughout the CJS.
To have a service that has such an understanding of sexual violence and which allows the client to tell their story to someone who listens and understands without opinion, judgement or bias.
I met my ISVA just after I began sliding into one of the most painful choices I had ever made, at a time when I felt numb and unable to comprehend what had happened to me and my children. The knowledge of the fallout if I continued with my choice of exposing the truth, and the fear of what this would do to my children and myself was unthinkable. Sadly, those fears came to pass but my ISVA was there like a bannister on a rickety staircase, for me to hold onto as I stumbled along, opening up old memories, acknowledging the truth of them and worse still realising the real harsh and very long term impact of them.
When I first met my ISVA she looked to me like an Amazon Warrior! Everything I wanted to feel like, she was herself. Tall, statuesque, head held high, she wore her boundaries and you could know them by looking at her.
I wanted to be intimidated by her as that meant I could hide behind her but she wouldn’t let me. It was as if she knew that was my default. Instead she held me up by supporting and believing my truth. Something I had been unable to ever give to myself, and yet she ‘saw’ me and that was amazing for me.
Support came regularly, and freely. I began to admit my past, live with the fallout and do more than just survive it. That no matter the outcome I still deserved to live and live well and that I had not caused or accepted the sexual violence and behaviour towards me, just because I had been silent. Nor did I ask for it because I hadn’t fought him off. He had chosen to misuse me and had groomed me before I was an adult, how was I to know and choose anything different. My ISVA encouraged me in my anger, tears and hurt, however this time not towards myself. What a revelation that I was allowed to be emotional. That I was allowed to comfort myself with kindness and boundaries, and that this was not asking too much or being too ‘heavy’ or demanding. She reassured me in releasing my false guilt over my children and to accept that I had been a child myself when this had all begun. My ISVA gave me space and permission to see with my own eyes, my deeper understanding that I was not to blame. That I was not making a big deal, that the things done to me where not right, never could have been, nor should be.
When my case was dropped, due to his word against mine, I felt I had let everyone down. My ISVA was there again to speak the truth that this was the failings of our system and not because I had been too much or been untruthful. The truth still stood, regardless of the outcome.
I know I would never have taken the leaps forward in healing if I hadn’t have had my ISVA as my supporter, encourager, and a shoulder to rage and grieve on. I would not have been bold nor brave enough to walk the path I chose, she walked it with me. She made me laugh and think deeply on what it means to be a woman, a sexual being, owning my own body, having my own boundaries for it and thinking on that abuse which stifles the life out of a person whilst all the while pointing a finger of accusation towards them. Without this vital support I would still be carrying around the inner pain of abuse to this day. I loved my ISVA for giving of herself when I didn’t have it to give to myself.
So for me, this service is beyond important and vital. It is imperative for those who need support in voicing their truth and coping with the shame, guilt, shock and fallout when it comes following the painful knowledge that abuse has been done to them. To have another listen without judgement and to still see value in you after that is like honey on one’s lips!
I would like to share just how valuable the support I received from BRASACC was followed by the impact that it had on my life.
Before coming to BRASACC, my self-esteem and self-confidence had been hit trough both childhood abuse followed by domestic violence within my marriage.
I was not aware that self referring would be accepted, that I’d be seen for as long as I was seen for, and especially that it would change my life.
I wasn’t able to trust anyone but today I am able to have some friends and also started working a year ago! (It’s only a few hours a week – but it is work).
Life has changed in ways that I cannot describe in a short few paragraphs but I had never imagined a life for myself where I would be able to smile again.
This took 18 months – two years of therapy as that was the time I needed with my therapist.
I still have work to do in order to maintain my healing but I’ve been empowered by BRASACC whom have helped me both to find the tools and further to apply them to my daily life.
There are triggers that can be difficult to work with if they aren’t recognised and dealt with immediately.
However, how to identify and cope with these triggers, was something that BRASACC aided me in discovering. Further, to find strategies that could help me deal with them as I went out back into society/the world.
It was vital that they gave me the time that I needed – both for the sessions/ meetings and also for the length of time.
I hope that they continue to do their brilliant work in supporting others to become stronger every day. To contribute to society in a positive way and most importantly to believe that they are capable of doing so- themselves!
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I was abused from 6 years into my teenage years. I repressed the memories until I was in my forties. I always felt alone and different from my peers. I felt that I was never a child. I always felt old. Things happened to me that should never happen to a child or adult. I felt I didn’t know who I really was. At times I felt very anxious, had panic attacks and felt great fear, fear so bad I thought I would die. I never felt safe in my home. I had a secret place I went to as a child. We lived near countryside. A little way out there was a double hedge and in the middle of it I felt safe hedges all around me. I was quite a tough nut outside but not inside: inside I felt full of fear.
Somehow I survived, I don’t really know how. I survived, I got married and had two children. The effects of the abuse affected my husband and children – me wanting everything to be perfect, at times wanting to over-protect my children, my depression and anxiety – sometimes I wanted to die.
In my forties I realised I needed some help. I phoned around and eventually found Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre. I met a wonderful counsellor and truly believe she saved my life because by then I felt I was going mad. She enabled me to carry on and live. It was only after I remembered that I realise the effects the abuse had on my life, as I had not known any difference before. Trust, I had never trusted anyone, self-esteem and confidence had always been low. The feeling of real love I experienced for the first time – love for my husband and children. I felt I really knew who I was. The pain of it all disabled me at times; it was so painful, so many years I had lost and would never be able to get back, so many feelings I never felt because I was numb inside.
I cannot praise Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre enough. It gave me back my life. I can trust now knowing not everyone is bad. I can feel love. I am confident; I do the best I can and know it is good enough. I don’t wake in the night, sweat pouring out of me, feeling full of fear although I can still feel fearful and anxious…. The abusers won’t take any more of my life, it’s too precious to me and my family.
Sexual abuse is the hidden crime. It is happening all the time, even as I am writing this….. I am in great pain thinking of all those survivors who won’t get the help they need.