This ‘Wall of Silence’ is highlighting the impact of child abuse on survivors – and they want you to see it

Luke Hastings, Bournemouth Echo

BOURNEMOUTH University hosted an “extraordinary” conference to highlight the impact of child abuse this week.

In partnership with child abuse charity Acts Fast, the university held the conference alongside an exhibition called the ‘Wall of Silence’. The wall showed images and stories to show the impact child abuse has on its victims.

Among the conference speakers were Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill and the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell.

Survivors, parents and support groups also spoke about their experiences of child abuse and there were discussions about how to try and prevent it.

Chair of trustees for Acts Fast, Dr Andrew Mayers, said: “It was extraordinary to hear the stories. This is absolutely essential. It’s demolishing this wall of silence, where you can’t talk about these things. The exhibition and conference are making it ok to talk about child abuse and helping with the impact of it, whilst raising awareness around it.”

CEO of the Southmead project, who created the wall, Dr Mike Peirce, said: “The exhibition not only highlights child abuse, its impact and the suffering this causes, but also the sheer determination and doggedness of those affected in trying to overcome the aftermath of that abuse: self-harming, substance misuse and sadly, attempts – sometimes successful, to take one’s life.

“Being believed means so much to so many; by their actions in staging this exhibition, the team is giving voice to victims and survivors and are a credit to themselves, Acts Fast, Bournemouth University and the concept of an inclusive, caring society.”

One speaker, Sue Crocombe, was abused as a child and her story appears on the wall.

She said: “I understand that people will feel uncomfortable about the idea of viewing an exhibition on the impact of child abuse. But, as survivors, we want others see it.

“We want them to hear our voices speaking out, breaking the silence of this taboo subject. This exhibition is not just about our pain, losses and confusion. It’s also about our strength, resilience and pride in having survived such a terrible crime.”

The conference and exhibition took place over two days last Monday and Tuesday, with approximately 70 people attending the conference.

Wall of Silence: Breaking the silence on child abuse

In July, Bournemouth University and Acts Fast will be presenting Southmead Project’s ‘Wall of Silence’, a display of images and stories that share the experience and impact of child abuse. The exhibition has already been shown across other towns and cities, including Bristol and Northampton (see http://southmeadproject.org.uk/wall-of-silence/). The exhibition will be accompanied by a conference.

Child abuse leaves a trail of destruction that pervades entire families, the impact of which lasts a lifetime. Yet, victims and survivors find it hard to talk for fear of judgement and disbelief. This powerful conference and exhibition will teach us how we can encourage victims and survivors that it’s OK to talk, and explore how victims and survivors can be supported.

Among the conference speakers will be Mike Peirce, MBE (CEO, Southmead Project, the creator of the Wall of Silence), Martyn Underhill (Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner) and Angus Campbell (Lord Lieutenant of Dorset). Other speakers will include survivors, parents, and support groups.

The exhibition takes place July 11th and 12th, 10.00-20.00, at Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus. The conference takes place on July 11th 9.30-16.30 (on the same site).

Dr Mike Peirce, said “The exhibition not only highlights child abuse, its impact and the suffering this causes, but also the sheer determination and doggedness of those affected in trying to overcome the aftermath of that abuse: self-harming, substance misuse and sadly, attempts – sometimes successful, to take one’s life. The display has appeared at many venues across England and Wales and whilst raising awareness of the problems encountered by survivors and victims, it has crucially given them a voice. By bringing the exhibition to Bournemouth, the organising team are being entirely open in how they view child abuse and they are clearly demonstrating their belief and desire to help those who have this experience. Being believed means so much to so many; by their actions in staging this exhibition, the team is giving voice to victims and survivors and are a credit to themselves, Acts Fast, Bournemouth University and the concept of an inclusive, caring society”.

Mandy Gulliver, Acts Fast CEO said “I attended the exhibition at Bristol, and was keen to bring the ‘Wall of Silence’ to display in the South. I approached Bournemouth University, whowere more than happy to accommodate such important work. Acts Fast is passionate to keep highlighting the huge impact child abuse has on an individual, and their families.”“The conference will highlight the ongoing impact all family members have, following an earth-shattering disclosure of sexual abuse from their child/children. The need for ongoing support for the child/children and their families is paramount and need addressing, the trauma the family endures is wholly underestimated” Dr Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, is Chair of Trustees at Acts Fast. He said “We know that child abuse has a huge impact on the victims and their families. Most children who are abused go on to experience a lifetime of mental health problems. Abuse is one of the biggest predictors of acute mental illness.” “We need to raise more awareness to prevent abuse and grooming (that precedes abuse). We also need more support services like Acts Fast to tackle the impact and reduce the devastation of abuse. However, we cannot do that without funding. This is our biggest challenge at Acts Fast.”

One speaker, Dorset-based campaigner Sue Crocombe, has been involved in several presentations of the Wall of Silence. Abused as a child, her story appears on the Wall. She said “I understand that people will feel uncomfortable about the idea of viewing an exhibition on the impact of child abuse. But, as survivors, we want others see it. We want them to hear our voices speaking out, breaking the silence of this taboo subject (at last). This exhibition isnot just about our pain, losses and confusion. It’s also about our strength, resilience and pride in having survived such a terrible crime.”To book (free) tickets to attend the conference, go to https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/festival-of-learning/events/wall-of-silence-victims-of-child-sexual-abuse/.

Tickets are likely to go quickly. To read more about the exhibition, go to https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/festival-of-learning/events/exhibition-wall-of-silence-victims-of-child-sexual-abuse/. There is no need to book; just turn up. For more information on Acts Fast, please call 01202 797 217 or visit www.actsfast.org.uk. Donations, to support the work at Acts Fast can be made at http://www.actsfast.org.uk/donate/

Wall of Silence Exhibition

From July 11th, Bournemouth University and Acts Fast will be presenting Southmead Project’s ‘Wall of Silence’, a display of images and stories that share the experience and impact of child abuse. The exhibition has already been shown across other towns and cities, including Bristol and Northampton (see http://southmeadproject.org.uk/wall-of-silence/). The exhibition will be accompanied by a conference.

Child abuse leaves a trail of destruction that pervades entire families, the impact of which lasts a lifetime. Yet, victims and survivors find it hard to talk for fear of judgement and disbelief. This powerful exhibition will teach us how we can encourage victims and survivors that it’s OK to talk, and explore how we can help support victims and survivors.

The conference, takes place on Tuesday July 11th, 9.30-16.30 at Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus (Fern Barrow, Poole BH12 5BB). The Wall of Silence will be available to view by the public, 11th and 12th July 10.00 until 20.00.

Among the speakers, will be Mike Peirce, MBE (CEO, Southmead Project, the creator of the Wall of Silence) and Martyn Underhill (Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner). Other speakers will include survivors, parents, and support groups.

 

Download Wall of Silence flyer

Conference Poster

Three Girls: It may be closer to home than you think

Press Release: For Immediate Release

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 Rotherham 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.”

For more information on Acts Fast, please call 01202 797 217 or visit www.actsfast.org.uk. Donations, to support the work at Acts Fast can be made at http://www.actsfast.org.uk/donate/

Robert Montagu becomes Patron for Acts Fast.

robert-montegu-photo

Robert Montagu becomes Patron for Acts Fast.

Acts Fast, a Bournemouth-based charity providing support for victims of child sexual abuse, and their (non-abusive) family, is proud to announce a new Patron. Robert Montagu is a highly respected psychotherapist, based near Weymouth.

Having been an importer of wines, pottery and ceramics for 25 years, Robert retrained as a psychotherapist (aged 50). He worked in Child and Adolescent mental health for the NHS before going private in 2007. He started the Family Counselling Trust to help families on low income in the south west, so that they could have access to high quality counselling for a range of emotional issues, at a cost they could afford. In 2014, Robert published a book ‘A Humour of Love’ drew on his experience of being sexually abused as a child. In that book, he revealed a sexual relationship that he had with his father, starting from the age of seven. It was that experience that has shaped much of his professional work, and his desire to be associated with Acts Fast. Since the publication of the book, Robert has combined working as a psychotherapist with families, extending the work of the Trust, and campaigning for the introduction of mandatory reporting of sex crimes against children nationwide.

Robert Montagu said “I hope that small charities such as Acts Fast that help promote such reporting in communities like Bournemouth continue to spread throughout the UK and will bring pressure on Government to act fast and reform the law”.

Mandy Gulliver, Acts Fast founder and CEO, said “We are extremely proud to announce and fortunate that Robert Montagu has agreed to be another Patron for Acts Fast, supporting the crucial work we do”

Dr Andrew Mayers, a psychologist at Bournemouth University and Chair of Trustees for Acts Fast, said “It is a great honour for Acts Fast to have a Patron with such standing as Robert Montagu. It is commendable that he has chosen to use the terrible experience he encountered as a child to make a difference for future generations“.

Generous Donation

“We are extremely grateful to have received a very generous donation, arising from Reachout’s closure. This will ensure, that we can continue our vital work in supporting families, who have been affected by chid sexual abuse”

Sexual Abuse & Mental Health Conference

Sexual Abuse and Mental Health Sept 2016

Sexual Abuse & Mental Health
Reducing the Impact of Abuse on Mental Health
Tuesday 20th September 2016, London

This CPD certified national conference focuses on the important issue of sexual abuse and mental health. Through national updates, survivor perspectives, expert sessions and case study presentations the conference will provide delegates with practical guidance for reducing the impact of abuse on mental health and supporting victims, families and carers.

For further information and to book your place visit http://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/sexual-abuse-mental-health

Follow the conference on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #sexualabuse
A 20% discount is available by quoting hcuk20af when booking.

Mental Health Week May 16th

ActsFast MHAW16Dorset

We had the pleasure of being part of Mental Health Week in conjunction with South West trains on Monday 16th May, at Bournemouth train station, which was a phenomenal success in raising awareness, with in excess of 8 million twitter impressions for #MHAW16Dorset.

Other organisations that attended included:

 

Other-charities

Great to see such a turnout from all different organisations. For more information click here to follow the link to the Bournemouth Echo article.