The child house concept is based on best practice learned from the USA and Scandinavia. Recognising the vulnerability of the child victim and the harm caused to the child by multiple interviews, the child house uses a child-friendly response to child sexual abuse (CSA).
In the UK, 2 child houses are available in the city of London, in Wales there is none.
As a child, you do not know who and where to run to, you do not know that there is any support available, if we can offer Child Houses across the UK, we can save children.
As a continuation of Refuges for Domestic Violence, there should be Child Houses for children suffering child sexual abuse.
We know that many children who are suffering child abuse will at some point try and escape, they will want to free themselves, but they have no where to go, They will be returned back home, back into the arms of their abuser.
Providing a safe house, that is child-friendly, that can open the way for disclosure and safeguarding, is something not to be ignored.
In Iceland, the ‘Barnahus’ model has been in place since 1998, and offers in one place, forensic interviews, making court statements, medical examinations and access to therapeutic services.
We should look at this model and then consider its adaption, to make this available like we do a domestic violence refuge. Since the Barnahus model was established in Iceland, the number of child victims of CSA coming forward for help has more than doubled per year, indictments have tripled, and convictions have doubled. This is enough evidence to show they are crucial.
Not only should we be providing child houses, but we should continue this with educating children that there are, safe, child-friendly, therapeutic options available.
Please join my Campaign to address this issue and push for the Welsh Government to provide a Child House in Wales.
The new Child House open in London ‘The Lighthouse‘, is accessible for children to access support, but we cannot surely expect children to get to London from other areas of the United Kingdom, if they are even aware such houses exist!
Our children need somewhere to run to, they need to be safe and they need to have access to the correct support to save themselves from the life sentence of Child Sexual Abuse.
ITV Wales Interview calling on the Welsh Government to follow London in setting up Child House for children suffering from Child Abuse.
Read the full article here: http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2018-10-10/abuse-survivor-calls-for-child-houses-for-children-suffering-sexual-abuse-in-wales/
On the 11th October 2018, the e-petition to:
Provide Child Houses in Wales for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Petition: P-05-859: On Tuesday the 8th January I attended the Senedd to Handover the Petition.
I was met by the media including ITV Wales, BBC Wales and Wales Online, and was very honoured to have a number of Assembly Members in attendance for the Handover.
The Petition was discussed and met with a united response and recognition of how important the Child House is, to saving children and from a child’s perspective. My backstory to the petition was also discussed, and I can not thank enough the Chair of the Committee, David Rowlands AM who showed a genuine compassion and understanding of what this petition meant to me.
It was an overwhelming, but proud moment.
On Tuesday 15th January the Petitions Committee discussed the Petition Live via Senedd TV, Petition and Actions were set in place to move this forward. An absolutely momentous occasion!
The opening words of David Rowalnds AM:
“I would like to personally congratulate Mayameen on the Courage she has showed in bringing this petition to the committee in the first place”
Thank you David Rowlands AM for this honourable introduction and for allowing my voice to be heard.
After receiving the petition, Caroline Jones AM said: “Mayameen Meftahi is a truly inspirational woman, subjected to years of harrowing abuse at the hands of her own father, she has, with immense bravery, decided to speak up for child victims of sexual abuse. Her story may be harrowing, but her drive and message are commendable and I hope the Welsh Government will listen.
Upon Mayameen’s fathers release from prison, she was / and still is not allowed to know where he is located.
Having been told repeatedly that this is sensitive information and that there is ‘no reason’ for her to know. That she could bump into him anywhere and so what will knowing actually do for her…
Well, this man is a high-profile sex offender whom controlled every aspect of her life, right up until the day he was arrested. Not only the horrific sexual abuse, he was a serial stalker, he would track her and even worse as she discovered when he was arrested, he had placed transmitters into plug sockets (a device so that he could record conversations even when he wasn’t there).
Therefore, she a right to avoid the vicinity in which he is currently living, minimised the risk to herself and her children, by not visiting or unknowingly entering into the home town of where he lives.
Does she not have the right to feel a little bit safe and to at least try to safeguard her family? Can she not even have that, now that he is free into the society…
Clare’s Law: The Domestic Violence Scheme (DVS), that offers members of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.
Sarah’s Law: The Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, that allows anyone to formally ask the police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sexual offences.
If Pete across the road has access to her children and something isn’t sitting right, and she wants to safeguard her children, she can formally make a written disclosure, to which the police will consider if it is in the best interests for safeguarding, to release that information in confidence.
So because her father is not living opposite her (yet!), she is not able to access this information of location, and yet her father, the high-profile sex offender was not Pete down the road, he was the man who was supposed to protect her, he was the man who she was supposed to love unconditionally, the role model, and what should have been for her children.
So where is her law to the right to ask the police where her Sexual Abuser is living? She isn’t requesting house number, address and postcode, simply the vicinity is enough, to minimise risk.
Let’s also consider, that her father was placed on licencing conditions to not enter near her home, therefore he was released information of her vicinity in order to know not to breach his licencing conditions!! So her father was allowed the information, that she, the victim is not allowed!?
“I am calling out for Sharpened Victim Protection, my right of law to release confidentially, the location of sex offenders for minimising risk”
NEW! Magazine Featuring the Petition
Anyone who has read Mayameen’s Story, will clearly see how unjust the sentencing was.
In 2014, her father was publicly named as being a ‘listener trained by Samaritans’ potentially implying a man of reform. Yet in 2016, and again in 2017 he was not eligible for Parole. The parole boards remit is in the most high-profile cases where sentence is indeterminate, to judge at oral hearings whether prisoners guilty of the most serious sex offences still pose a risk to society, to justify imprisonment after the expiration of their tariff – the minimum time the trial judge ruled they must serve.
So in September 2016 and again in 2017 he was still a risk to society, yet 8 months on from this parole boards decision, he was released into the community.
Being sentenced to 10 years in prison, serving approximately 6 1/2 years in total.
Serving half a sentence and the rest in the community under licencing conditions for just 9 months, is Justice?
A Child Sexual Abuse survivor is never free from the abuse, physically and mentally being tortured until the day they die. It impacts their whole life, whether it destroys it, or empowers it, they never escape the sudden flashbacks, nightmares, memories, guilt, blame, stigma, shame. Let alone, the impact on their relationships and parenthood.
Should he have served his entire sentence? Absolutely!
There are 2 parts to this campaign, firstly:
The sentencing guidelines for historical child abuse cases are flawed, historical sexual abuses are sentenced on the time of the act and that applicable law, not the current law.
Sentences are too lenient:
We know that sentences for Sexual Abuse and Rape are too lenient and this has once again been proved in the recent article on www.express.co.uk dated 7th February 2018:
Judge Ticehurst told him “The national Sentencing Council Guidelines are simply too lenient”.
High-profile sex offenders should be subjected to current law sentencing.
When you sentence an offender to 10 years in prison, at the moment of time, the only thing that registers in a victims mind is ’10 years’, not 10 years, minus 224 days spent on remand and actually they will only serve half of that sentence…
By issuing a 10 year sentence, that is not actually going to be served in prison, you provide a false sense of safety, that victims are protected for that amount of time and can try and rebuild their lives based on the words ‘sentencing you to 10 years imprisonment’.
Victims are put through gruelling processes to get offenders punished, through the loopholes of the Judiciary system, and then sentencing it not actually as it states.
Do not act like you are moving mountains, just be honest and say he will serve 5 years minimum sentence… don’t let us believe we are safe when in fact we are not.
High-profile sex offenders should serve their full sentence in prison.