The Leicester meeting was a mix of some tears and laughter but mainly about education in the vast forum of CSA and CSE.
Voicing CSA is the first to hold up its hand and admit we don’t have the answers we have the experience of being survivors. Over the coming months and indeed probably years we do feel that there is space for a forum and a meeting of opinions and understanding in the field of educating the educators and we believe this may come as part future guidelines from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). However we also think this will only come as parts as IICSA reaches conclusions from each section of investigation. That may be too long to wait as action is needed now to protect the young from perpetrators of sexual rape of children, child sexual abuse and exploitation. We hope that people like the Minister for Education, education facilities and facilitators that are all directly involved with children will work towards ensuring work is done now rather than later.
The meeting in Leicester was opened by Phillip Lafferty – Chair of Voicing CSA.
It was a pleasure to welcome Donna Peach back to Voicing CSA after her first speech at a Voicing CSA in Manchester and Donna was in top form as she spoke most eloquently to our participants at Leicester. We thank her again for being with us for a second visit and indeed brought a survivor, Jonathan Ashton with her on the long journey from Salford to be with us. There will be more from Jonathan later.
There was a break after Judith had spoken and whilst everyone circulated and chatted it was brought to the attention of our Chairman, Phillip Lafferty that he had started the meeting saying he was going to explain the Truth Project from the IICSA and hadn’t done so. So after the break he rectified that and also highlighted that both he and Nigel Thompson prior to the meeting in Manchester had been given a tour of the North West hub of the Truth Project offices and reported back on that tour and the Truth Project.
Through social media we often communicate or get communication from either Organisations or individuals who work in specialised areas that are of interest to Voicing CSA and we were pleased to become in contact with Judith Staff. Judith asked to come along to the meeting at Leicester and wanted to know more about us and what we were doing
We explained to Judith that we were theming the meeting on Educating the Educators and if she would like to speak we were more than happy to hear about her work and any ideas and thoughts she might like to add and kindly spoke to everyone in Leicester.
Earlier we mentioned Jonathan Ashton who travelled down from Widnes and had been given a lift to the meeting by Donna Peach. Jonathan is a survivor of CSA and the effect that had on his life was traumatic and had given him an issue with speaking out and caused him to stammer and freeze when confronting the abuse he suffered. Voicing CSA met Jonathan in Manchester and he had been unable to speak out. We were amazed and gladdened that Things were slowly improving for him after our Manchester meeting and he told us that he felt his abusers had now been muted and he was slowly finding his voice. We were humbled by the presence of Jonathan and gladdened that he was making improvement after so long in his life. Jonathan we applaud you.
The work done in Nottingham through community and unity is amazing and is bringing about tremendous results and both Mandy Coupland and Mickey Summers and Nigel O’ Mara and many more are doing fantastic work in Nottingham. Showing how working together can achieve results. There is some upset and tears so please be aware and Voicing Chairman Phillip Lafferty is apologetic for thinking Mandy was Diana Coupland the 70’s sitcom TV star.
After an intensive day of sharing, caring and unified support it was for Nigel Thompson Director of Voicing CSA to tie up the loose ends bring the conclusions together answer a few points raised and wrap the meeting up in his own admirable and considered style.
Feedback to follow