As BBC One shows the true-life drama “Three Girls” you might be thinking that this harrowing story of child sexual abuse was unique and isolated. Sadly, children are still being abused, and groomed for abuse, all across the UK. Locally, Acts Fast, a Bournemouth-based charity, provides support across Dorset to non-abusive families, parents, carers and children who have been affected by sexual abuse.
As the story unfolds on TV, Acts Fast is likely to receive calls from people looking for support, or perhaps wishing to disclose that they have been abused, or know someone who has. This distressing account is likely to draw on memories that might have been suppressed because it has been too painful to talk about.
Mandy Gulliver, Acts Fast CEO said “The bravery to speak out about your own child abuse must be commended. The strength it takes to come forward, to tell someone, must not be underestimated, not only to the brave individuals of Rochdale but to all the other individuals out there who have done so, and to those that are still suffering either at the hands of their abuser or silenced through fear.”
“Highlighting how truly rife child abuse is in this country must always be kept in the forefront of people’s minds, to reach as many people suffering as we can. The physiological scars that are left following abuse can lead to a debilitating way of life, clouded in shame and guilt. I can’t stress enough the support and understanding individuals and families need when faced with this devastating life-changing reality”
Dr Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, is Chair of Trustees at Acts Fast. He said “As a psychologist specialising in mental health, I am acutely aware of the impact that sexual abuse in childhood has on a lifetime of mental health problems. Many adults with acute mental health difficulties have experienced childhood abuse. One of my roles at Acts Fast is too look at how we can help victims, and their families, survive the mental health fallout.”
“However, we cannot do this work without support. We need funding to help us provide that support. We are also always keen to talk to volunteers and potential trustees to help us carry out that work. If you feel you can help us, we would like to hear from you.”