More local people - both male and female - will learn how to avoid rape and sexual abuse

More local people - both male and female - will learn how to avoid rape and sexual abuse, and more victims of such crimes will be supported, thanks to a recent donation from the WPH Charity?

Safeline, the Warwick-based specialist charity dedicated to preventing rape and sexual abuse, has received a welcome boost to its funds, following a grant from another local charity originally established to prevent sickness in the region.

WPH Charitable Trust has approved an ‘unrestricted’ £4,000 grant to Safeline - the third award made to Safeline over the last three years – thereby allowing it to use the funds to support the full range of its work. This award takes the total amount donated by the WPH Charitable Trust to Safeline to £8,000 over three years.

Safeline has provided support and counselling services to over 3000 people during the last year. But according to Safeline Chief Executive, Neil Henderson, this is still just a drop in the ocean. ‘Using official statistics, we calculate that about 13,000 people in Coventry and Warwickshire are victims of a sexual offence each year. That includes about 2000 men, and also includes those people who choose not to report the abuse to the police.

‘This grant will allow us to continue to reach out to all people affected by these crimes, via one or more of our services: face-to-face counselling; a range of therapies; our training activities to help more professionals help other victims of these terrible crimes; and our prevention work in schools and young people’s groups.

‘We can only scratch the surface of the problem, because our core funding is limited, so a donation of this size from WPH Charitable Trust is very welcome, as it can be used wherever we most need it.

‘We want to be able to help as many people in Coventry and Warwickshire as possible, so we need to let them know we are here for them, in as supportive a role as we can be.’

WPH Charitable Trust was established in 1994 and exists to provide funding for individuals, groups and organisations to help prevent, relieve and cure sickness in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The trust provides grants for medical research, buildings, equipment and other forms of medical care for residents of the region. Applications are all made via the trust’s website, and are assessed on a regular quarterly basis.

Said Trust chairman, Professor Rob Grieve: ‘Although our charity was originally established to assist in purely medical matters, the trustees felt the work of Safeline was of such profound value and helped such a surprisingly large number of local people recover from sexual abuse, and prevent thousands more from suffering from these terrible crimes, that a grant could be justified as preventing even greater medical demands’.

Safeline: case study 1

‘Wendy’

  • Female aged 42
  • As a 12-yr old girl, ‘Wendy’ was the victim of familial abuse, and so was put into care under a care order and placed in a Coventry Children’s Home
  • There, she was repeatedly physically and violently restrained by staff of the children’s home - some of whom have recently been convicted, and legal investigations are on-going
  • On one occasion she was dragged upstairs by her arms and legs with offenders deliberately banging her head off every step and laughing
  • After lengthy physical restraint, another offender asked if ‘she had had enough’ and then punched her directly in the face
  • Family was prevented from seeing the victim
  • She reported incidents repeatedly to other organisations who failed to act
  • She witnessed many forms of abuse of other children
  • Although now an adult the victim says that in her mind ‘she still walks the corridors of a Coventry Children’s Home’
  • She has suffered physical and mental health issues ever since, including panic, anxiety and trust issues in relationships
  • ‘Wendy’ was supported by Safeline to report the offence and give evidence to police, with pre-trial therapy and then moral support throughout the trial and sentencing. Post-trial support continues with counselling and ongoing assistance from one of the charity’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors

Safeline: case study 2

‘Bernadette’

  • Female aged 40
  • As a 12-yr old girl, she was placed under a care order as a result of extreme child neglect and housed at a Coventry Children’s Home
  • There, she was repeatedly imprisoned in an isolation room, in her underwear alone and made to stay awake with staff taking turns to insult and humiliate her through the night
  • She was repeatedly sexually abused by two staff members, who have now been convicted of these offences
  • She tried to escape but was returned to the home
  • As an adult, she developed a history of self-harm and self-medication with drugs and alcohol
  • Although she is clean and sober now she still suffers high post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology including flashbacks, panic attacks, depression and trust issues
  • Bernadette was supported by Safeline to report the offence and give evidence to police, with pre-trial therapy and then moral support throughout the trial and sentencing. Post-trial support continues with counselling and ongoing assistance from one of the charity’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors

 

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