In 2015 alone, approximately 70,000 children and young people in the UK came forward to say that they were a victim of sexual abuse. Imagine how many more children are suffering right now and haven’t told anyone what they are going through.
Sadly, sexual abuse often occurs closer to home than people might think. More often than not, it involves a close family member and this makes it even harder for children to come forward and disclose what is happening to them. That person may be a parent, grandparent, uncle, or auntie, someone they trust and have many good and fond memories with. Some children are groomed by their abuser and will be scared that if they say anything, something bad will happen to them, they might have been threatened and told the family may break up and they will feel that it is their fault.
Some children will not even be aware that there is anything to tell – their situation is normal to them and they may think that every child goes through this.
There are so many issues to deal with, not only for the child involved but for the whole family. It can be described as feeling a bit like throwing a pebble in a pond… the ripples just keep going on and on and on.
Fresh Start new beginnings get involved once a child has taken the difficult step of coming forward and disclosing the abuse they are suffering. A professional, someone who is either a social worker, Police, SARC, Health, or Education will then make a referral to Fresh Start new beginnings. We offer a range of programmes, through one-to-one sessions with a trained specialist. We also offer group support through our young people’s groups and parents’ groups. We are here for the whole family, including parents, grandparents, and siblings. When someone comes forward to report sexual abuse, it puts a huge strain on a family, so we work with the whole family to help make sense of what is happening.
We work with the child or young person for as long as they need us. Our work is not a quick fix and it can often take many months, in some cases, years of sessions to help a child overcome the effects of what they have suffered. Our aim is to help them rebuild their lives and to move forward to a positive future.
In the past 12 months, we have received over 250 referrals for children and young people across Suffolk and Norfolk. Our waiting list is continually increasing and we need additional resources to help every child who is referred. We need your support to enable us to reach every child who is so desperately in need of our help.
There are many ways you can get involved – either by making a one-off donation, supporting us regularly with a monthly donation taking on the challenge of a lifetime, or offering your skills to help with our fundraising.