Talk Now is currently a service for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, the service has been opened since 2012 and has grown organically each year. This year there is 80 survivors who use the service with 10 sessional counsellors and three members of staff employed by Talk Now. Talk Now have a good working relationship with Police Scotland, health and support agencies in the local area and social work.
I qualified in social care 2013 (HNC), I have been employed in social care since 2013 having worked in a homeless project and mental heal project before gaining employment with Talk Now as a life link worker, the Life Link service offers support to survivors who are on the waiting list or is needing support while going through counselling. Carrying out assessments for survivors who first contact the service is also part of the job.
The reason for Talk Now is aiming to open a service for child and young adult survivors is, Talk Now received an email from a mother looking for support for her daughter, it was a heartfelt email, and unfortunately Talk Now is funded for support for adult survivors and not children or young person survivors, I felt as if I was in a helpless situation were I could only offer support to the mother and not the daughter. I researched other services that are available for children survivors in the local area, and I was astonished that there is a lack of support services for children, young person survivors.
I can empathise with the Mother who contacted the service, the stress, anxiety with a sense of loss and despair when looking for support for a child. also the cost of going private will also add to the pressure of the situation. the child will be going through her own anxiety, confusion while losing her childhood and voice. Talk Now believes in getting the appropriate support when the child and family are ready which is paramount for the child and families well being.
The saddest thing for me is older generation survivors who have contacted the service in later life after living with their experience and impact of the abuse for decades and the coping strategies no longer work. Also, the survivors who have pushed the self destruct button and lead hectic lives. with addictions, criminal justice issues and destructive relationships. All of which could stem from childhood sexual abuse and trauma.
More now than ever there needs to be services for survivors especially services for children and young person. For survivors to have the opportunity to seek out and receive support resulting in not living with their experience for decades, not having the urge to push the self-destruct button in life, the earlier the support for the survivor the brighter there future can be.
Talk Now will use the money for counselling hours for each child/ young person who uses the services. Talk Now has projected that in year one five survivors will use the service. it is a conservative projection, I feel making outlandish and reaching for the starts projections for each year would be counter productive for everybody involved. The money will provide 25 sessions of counselling for each survivor.
There will be two sessional counsellors who are experienced with working with children and trauma. the counselling room will be suitable for child survivors, a room which feels safe, welcoming and has the equipment for counselling child survivors.
The new service will work with the current service for adult survivors, by offering parents and older siblings of the survivor counselling and support, Talk Now are fully aware of the strain and effect sexual abuse can have on the family unit. offering support to parents and older siblings to manage there own feelings and empowering them to be able to support the survivor at home, is key for the wellbeing of the survivor and family unit.
Talk Now have met the child protection requirements including training for all staff, Talk Now have also met all legal requirements with regards to PVG checks for all staff, have the frame work in place with dedicated staff, a good reputation in the local community and a premises, Talk Now is at the stage were funding is the only thing that is required for the service to be up and running.