VCSA – Cheshire

Chair of Voicing CSA opened the meeting in Cheshire and introduced Marise Thomas as the new Director of VCSA.

Marise Thomas is no stranger to the work of Voicing CSA and has attend many of the meetings as well as giving her support behind the scenes of our meetings. It was one of the final requests of Nigel Thompson that Marise become a Director of Voicing CSA as Nigel was going to resign due to ill health but he passed away before he resigned.

Marise was recently appointed a Director of Voicing CSA and will give her support and knowledge to uphold the values and aims of Voicing CSA. Marise has been involved with campaigning for CSA since 2013 and supports various charities.


Baroness Newlove of Warrington is the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales. The Baroness has a preference to be called Helen and came to understand the criminal justice system after her husband Garry Newlove was murdered in 2007 by a gang of youths.

Helen Newlove became a Baroness in the dissolution of Parliament Honours List of 2010 and has worked tirelessly to support victims of crime, though Voicing CSA does hope that Helen will consider an alteration to the title of her role of Victims Commissioner to that of Victims and Survivors Commissioner for England and Wales as many victims become survivors though still need a voice and representation as a survivor. Voicing CSA looks forward to working together with the Commissioner in the future.


Ian Harding and Jacqui Hanson from Operation Hydrant delivered a joint presentation of ‘The Aims and Purpose of Operation Hydrant and how it operates’.

Ian Harding and Jacqui Hanson attended the Voicing CSA meeting at our request and again attended longer than they originally intended. Voicing CSA thanks them both for attending and talking about Operation Hydrant. We understand that it is the first recorded presentation in full of the work of Operation Hydrant and revealed some unsettling statistics of sexual abuse, the work that Hydrant does and the way in which they are spearheading the guidelines into how the police across England and Wales handle survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Highlighted was the Victims’ Right to Reply (VRR) and the limitations on making an appeal to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to have their case reviewed. As a result of this VCSA is to meet with Nicky Morgan MP who is the constituent MP of the Chair of Voicing CSA (Phillip Lafferty) to discuss the scrapping of VRR in cases of sexual abuse/violence and not just childhood sexual abuse/violence.


Elaine Hook discussed ‘The Challenges with Disclosure’ and read her poem relating to that, many felt the meaning of her verse quite deeply and those that had never been abused in childhood felt it was thought provoking and powerful in its content. There were tears from those who genuinely felt the depth of her words and uplifted by her understanding.

Elaine is an inspirational speaker discussing all layers of abuse be it domestic abuse, childhood sexual abuse and/or exploitation, Gaslighting and grooming. Elaine is a survivor of abuse and now works in education as a Trainer.


David Lean was abused by his football coach in 1980 and remained silent until he disclosed in 2013. David went through the court process but it wasn’t straight forward and had to battle with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ad the Courts to get justice. In that process he got prosecution guidance changed and a conviction against his abuser Barry Bennell. David tells his story for the first time in a public forum in the hope that it will encourage others to come forward. David held the Chair of Voicing CSA with every word he spoke and was seen to be visibly weeping as he spoke with such honesty, transparency and sincerity that his every word was met with complete silence as he spoke his visible courage and clear depth of feeling of all he said.


Peter Garsden is the President of ACAL which is the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers. As a solicitor for 20 years Peter has acted for the victims of child abuse. Peter talked about changes to the law needed and about Mandatory Reporting.

Peter was originally going to be at the meeting up until he delivered his talk as he was giving his time free to support us. In the end Peter and his team remained for the whole day so thank you Peter Garsden and your team who attended from Voicing CSA.


The Chair of Voicing CSA, Phillip Lafferty discussed quietly with many survivors who attended about the squabbles that went on amongst survivors. Our mandate is quite clear at Voicing CSA about peer to peer support and the support for the IICSA and the VSCP. We have one opportunity for a safer world that children come into and was moved to ask for unity with all survivors and organisations.


Jameel Hadi is a lecturer in Social work at Salford University was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to young people in the North West he spoke about ‘The Culture no Complacency of Childhod Sexual Abuse in Sport’. He also gave his time to help us get some leaflets done for this meeting at the University and we thank all involved for doing so. Due to the lack of facilities available at the village hall Jameel was unable to give his full talk with an interactive activity and a short film. We hope in the future to offer Jameel the full opportunity to present at another Voicing CSA meeting.

Jameel headed up a community interest company called ‘Participation Through Sport (PTS)’. Offering young people opportunities for personal development and, as it grew, they led and shaped its direction.

PTS trained young people to develop their leadership skills and grew into a number of community clubs for young people from 8 to 21 years, with the older children running activities for the younger ones.

PTS developed strong partnerships with national bodies such as the FA, British Judo, Affinity Sutton Housing Association and O2 Think Big. One of its most significant achievements was a film made by the young people called ‘Listening to Children in Sport’ which was endorsed by the FA, Sports Leaders UK and Safeguarding Boards.

The last talk of the day was given by Donna Peach who is now an Ambassador for VCSA. Donna discussed ‘The Impact of Sexual Abuse in Childhood Development’.

Donna Peach discussed ‘The Impact of Sexual Abuse in Childhood Development’. Donna has supported Voicing CSA since its early beginnings and has spoken at many of our meetings. Her input has been from a perspective of being a social worker for 30 years although now lectures in Social work at Salford University. Donna recently took a sabbatical from social media to concentrate on her thesis but we are pleased to say that she that she took time away from that to speak at Voicing CSA at a critical time in preparation of her thesis.




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