On the 11th October, I was interviewed by ITV Wales regarding my waiving of anonymity. I agreed to the interview in order to focus on my campaign to call on the Welsh Government to provide Child Houses in Wales, something that I am very passionate about, especially as an Organisation that has been supporting women for a number of years, providing recovery by way of a recovery program and Advocacy for victims.
Many have asked me about the interview following my story with New Pathways, as I had expressed to ITV Wales that the current waiting list is failing victims of Sexual Violence and Rape, I know that many organisations are taking on the overwhelming task of Sexual Violence.
However, I do raise concern of a 2 year waiting list and then mentioning that this should not ‘put you off’, I would never want anyone to be put off from accessing services of support and I would never want anyone to be put off reporting Sexual Abuse. However, we must be much more understanding to the challenges victims face, when that victim makes the amazingly brave step to seek support, or speak out, it has to be supported there and then, because the emotional trauma, all that comes with it, escalates very quickly.
Organisations can not possibly take it all on, there has to be a resolution to collaborative working, multi-agency support and out-sourcing.
There is absolutely no way you can expect a victim who has been raped or sexually assaulted to wait 2 years to access counselling or support. Accountability has to be taken, they will either find their own coping mechanisms during this wait, which could be positive, such as seeking private counselling or accessing support groups to learn techniques to cope with this trauma. Or, they will find ways to cope which can include spiralling into severe depression, self-harm, drugs, alcohol or worse, suicide!
Referring into non-statutory services, who are fully equipped and specialised, could be a possible solution.
There are plenty of other professionals and specialised services that can be accessed, so the waiting list is decreased. If the numbers are more important than the victims recovery, then at what point are you truly understanding the role you claim to provide.
I wrote and facilitate a 7 week PTSD & Anxiety Recovery Program, that has proven successful with women affected by all forms of trauma, and this includes sexual abuse and rape.
I know this, as I was once that victim of Child Sexual Abuse, that same story being aired, I was the woman who had accessed Counselling and blessed as I was, to not have a 2 year wait, but I knew that I needed practical approaches as well as talking therapy.
From my lived experience, I went on to qualify as a Psychotherapist and NLP Coach. My professional determination led me to found my organisation, through my own recovery, I progressed to writing the Bespoke 7 week PTSD & Anxiety Recovery Program.
Within 7 weeks, 95% of women who attended the first few programs I facilitated, felt equipped to cope with PTSD & Anxiety.
Evaluations of the first 20 feedback forms of rolling out the program consisted of:
My Bespoke Recovery Program is accessed on a self referral basis and 99% of women who have been on the program, have accessed it this way. A number of them, whilst waiting for their counselling to begin. There is a contribution cost to accessing the program, and due to its testimonials, they are happy to do so.
In September 2018, Action for Children out-sourced my recovery program and I have been facilitating this in-house to 7 of their young mums, which is due to conclude end of October.
Maybe other organisations could consider buying-in other services, that can assist with reducing their current numbers (waiting list), and most importantly allowing a quicker access option for victims to be supported.
I struggle to understand how we are still battling collaborative working. Many Survivors like myself, have turned their suffering into surviving, have built a solid foundation to become specialised and provide services to professionals and community alike. Survivors can rebuild their lives, turn them around, become professionals, and in fact experts from lived experience and then positively impact and change lives of those who are also affected.
Out-sourcing could possibly be the solution. Funds are already limited for many Charities and I respect that, I also respect the need to look at other means. The Welsh Governments response:
“We are looking at developing an all-Wales Traumatic Stress Service to provide to provide intensive counselling to victims of sexual assault. The NHS is also developing regional services to support the immediate needs of child and adult victims and works closely with the police and third sector bodies to provide support to children through the network of Welsh Sexual Assault Referral Centres” – WELSH GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON