Voicing CSA – Manchester on 14th May 2016 was a meeting of many involved in supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
There were survivors also, who were attending a meeting for the first time concerning child sexual abuse it was an enlightening day for many and showed the strength of a community working together.
There were a number of groups represented at Altrincham and seasoned campaigners who were all working in peer to peer support. Shatterboys UK, a high profile Manchester based group who support male survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), Donna Peach from Salford University CSA a much respected arm of the University who have intensively researched CSA, including in depth research into Rotherham, Nottingham CSA survivor organisations, individual survivors from several generations of abuse and many more.
The meeting started with the Voicing CSA Chairman Phillip Lafferty’s welcome and introduction.
Phillip spoke of trust and betrayal and the path of learning to trust again It was announced that Samantha Morton had agreed to be a Patron of Voicing CSA. Voicing CSA is honoured that Samantha agreed to be Patron for our community interest company and feel sure that with Samantha’s own childhood experience with abuse that we will be able to forge ahead with positivity and find appropriate ways that we can work together including attending some of the Voicing CSA meetings in the future.
Samantha Morton is an English actress, screenwriter and director. She has received critical acclaim and numerous accolades throughout her career, including one BAFTA TV Award, one Golden Globe Award and has been nominated twice for an Academy Award and once for an Emmy Award. She has often been described as one of the greatest actors of her generation.
As soon as Graham Brady MP had finished his constituency surgery the Chairman of the 1922 Select Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West formally opened the meeting.
It was great to see that Graham Brady M.P. stayed to hear more of CSA and listened intently to Donna Peach, Donna is a much published lecturer in Social work and has been researching child abuse in Rotherham and has great insight from a professional perspective and great insight into CSA.
After Donna Peach a short break was taken because there were two policemen downstairs who were responding to an anonymous call regarding the concern of a massive protest at the Town Hall. The police were advised that it wasn’t a protest but peaceful survivors of CSA and supporters, that Graham Brady M.P. was in the room along with staff from the IICSA and would they like to arrest or apprehend them? It is of course right and proper for our police force to regard an incident as something to respond to, but the hoax caller from wherever should consider that removing an officer from the course of their duty to respond to your call may well have taken them away from a real incident where they were genuinely needed.
There was a presentation from the IICSA about engaging with the Truth Project which is Part of the IICSA.
The following is a transcript of that presentation from the IICSA.
‘Voicing CSA in Manchester what to expect from a Truth Project private session
On Saturday 14th May 2016 Steve Long, Director for Operations at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse attended an event hosted by ‘Voicing CSA’ in Manchester, to talk about the Inquiry’s Truth Project which is due to start in the north west of England this month.
Steve spoke to attendees about the importance of giving victims and survivors of CSA the opportunity to share their experience with the Inquiry in a safe and informal environment during a private session. He explained that private sessions were a way for the Inquiry to hear directly from victims and survivors and that they could share as much about their experience as they felt comfortable in doing. He outlined the Truth session process including the support services available before, during and after a session.
He said that the Inquiry had taken time to set up the Truth Project and had benefited from a pilot in November 2015. This pilot meant the Inquiry could take account of feedback from victims and survivors about its processes and he emphasised that the Inquiry would continue to listen to victims and survivors and work with specialist support groups in the community as the Inquiry progresses.
Steve explained the important role the Victim and Survivor Consultative Panel (VSCP) had played in the design of the Truth Project, the training of Facilitators and Assistant Facilitators who will conduct the private sessions, and the design of the Inquiry offices to ensure these offered a safe and comfortable environment in which victims and survivors could share their experiences with the Inquiry.’
Details about the Truth Project and the work of the Inquiry can be found on the IICSA website: iicsa.org.uk.
Daniel Wolstencroft is a member of the Victim and Survivors Consultation Panel (VSCP) and the co-founder of Shatterboys UK. A Manchester based organisation that supports male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Daniel is also a survivor and was born into the Warburton family, a household name in bread making.
His talk comes in two parts (as the battery died on the camcorder). The tension was eased by a mobile phone that had a mooing cow ring tone which you will hear early on.
Brian Clare is a survivor who has been attending many survivor events and is a seasoned campaigner who has supported so many other organisations spoke on record for the first time at Voicing CSA – Manchester.
Wesley Hall, a Human Rights activist and survivor took the floor and spoke about the work he was doing and the reasons behind why he was doing what he does. Wesley was articulate and composed and his talk was very moving.
We had a surprise visit from Nigel O’Mara he had travelled from Nottingham to show his support for Voicing CSA, he was surprised in return by being asked to speak. It’s always a pleasure to hear him speak. Nigel is a much respected man who has worked in the field of supporting survivors for nearly all his adult life.
The time was moving on and the day had been a full day of speakers and plenty of questions in the question and answer time that Voicing CSA includes in all meetings. They almost become a group therapy where everyone gets to share and many spoke up for the first time and was uplifting to see.
It was left to Director of Voicing CSA to finally round up the meeting and conclude the day. Nigel highlighted that the meeting was male dominated which was quite unusual for a meeting of Survivors.
Last but not least is the big thank you that is owed to two dedicated individuals without whom the Manchester meeting would not have happened. Phillip Lafferty The chair of VCSA AND Nigel Thompson, Director, were in unison in their thanks to Anne Southworth and Theresa Travis. Anne spent many days and nights getting people organised and speakers on board and Theresa and Anne spent days getting all the catering ready so that everyone had food to eat and drinks throughout the day. We will forever be grateful for all you did. Thank you also for the catering gifts that we will be able to use at other meetings.