The effect of lockdown
Since coming out of lockdown, the charity has received a 50 per cent rise in referrals. Prior to March, it was working with just over 200 children; this has now increased to 300. And the expectation is that this figure will increase still further.
Lockdown has enabled FSNB to think carefully about the way it delivers treatments and to consider new ways of working. It has been looking at ways to adapt its service to ensure that it can continue to support children and their families who have been victims of sexual abuse.
Due to the nature and sensitivity of the service it offers, FSNB is unable to provide any pictures of the children it works with or their families. However, it does have a large collection of children’s work, which is used at events to demonstrate some of the difficulties the children experience and how their treatment has enabled them to move forwards with their lives.
Making a real difference to children’s’ lives
As an example, here’s a letter that was written by a child who suffered abuse.
“There are a lot of things I want to say to you. After you abused me, I felt lost. Every day I would wake up feeling numb. I wanted to be alone, but I needed to be alone with someone to make me feel safe. I don’t think I will ever feel safe again. You said if I told anyone you would hurt all the family. Who is going to believe me? Trapped, trapped at home with you made me want to die. After you began to abuse me, I felt scared and afraid, why were you doing this to me. You hurt me. You then told me that if I stopped, you would do it to my little brother. I let you do it and you still did it to him. You are my dad. I looked up to you. You were my everything. I should have been able to trust you. Dads are meant to look after their children. When I think of what you did to me, I feel ashamed, what did I do for you to do this to me? I feel betrayed and cold inside. I get the feeling of anger rise up in my body to make you pay for what you did to me. I feel like a broken mirror, and I don’t know how to put the pieces back together again. I thought about my mum and family and all the people I loved. That if I ended my life my brother would be on his own.
I was so scared. I could not sleep When the police took you away. I wanted to scream and jump but I just feel numb and never want to see you again.”
It’s a sobering thought that 1 in 20 children are sexually abused before the age of 18 and 90 per cent of children Fresh Start new beginnings have worked with know their abuser.
The charity works with the child or young person for as long as they need them. It often takes many months, in some cases, years of therapy to help a child overcome the effects of what they have suffered. The aim is to help them rebuild their lives and to move forward to a positive future.
To do this Fresh Start new beginnings need additional resources to help every child that is referred, and it needs your support to enable it to reach every child who is so desperately in need of its help.
There are many ways you can get involved, either by making a one-off donation, providing regular support with a monthly donation, taking on the challenge of a lifetime, or offering your skills to help with its fundraising.