The Voicing CSA meeting in Northampton on Saturday 20th August 2016 was held at the Good Loaf Café. It was an interesting and inspiring venue As a social business they aim to provide real employment opportunities to vulnerable local women so that they can break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and offending.
More can be found about them here The Good Loaf Café
The Voicing CSA meeting in Northampton was well attended and also visited by some of the staff from the Good Loaf who were interested in finding out more about us. Indeed questions were asked of many attendees by the staff of the venue which was very positive. We were also pleased to see Northampton rape crisis in attendance.
The meeting was opened by Phillip Lafferty the Chair of Voicing CSA who welcomed everyone and thanked them for being present and discussed briefly the Truth Project and other support available and invited Nigel Thompson to speak (a change from the usual format) as Nigel originates from Northampton and was speaking from the heart of his childhood territory.
Nigel Thompson, from Voicing CSA, spoke emotively about the fact that much of the sexual abuse he suffered during his childhood occurred in Northampton; indeed in places not too far away from the venue for the meeting.
He went on to summarise the aims of Voicing CSA.
- Acting as a peer to peer support at our meetings and via social media. Including doing what we can to engage with those who are very hard to reach, in particular those in secure institutions and the homeless both areas where a high incidence of CSA is reported.
- Through that engagement to help to influence the response of Government – and therefore health services – to what needs to be done for adult survivors.
- That while not being unquestioning champions of the IICSA, we do see the Truth Project as a key aspect of survivors having a voice. We encourage survivors to engage with The Truth Project as a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a Doomsday Book of the extent of CSA/CSE in England and Wales.
- A recognition that most adult survivors are very concerned about the children of today and tomorrow, and the importance of improved safeguarding and education.
He concluded by outlining some safeguarding concerns relevant to his story, that still exist today.
Donna Peach who has been a regular supporter and speaker at Voicing CSA meetings attended and discussed another interesting and thought provoking aspect of CSA.
As with all speakers throughout the country at Voicing CSA meetings Donna attended at her own expense and received no payment for speaking. It is gratifying that there are so many that appreciate the core aims and objectives of the work of Voicing CSA that they do this to help continue the work of Voicing CSA.
Donna discusses Donna freedom of speech, the role of Universities and child sexual abuse, the danger of censorship, the CSA Inquiry and the role of survivors during and beyond the inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
There was a question and answer time after Donna had spoken and it was great to see such interaction between survivors and supporters who had a lot to speak about and share during this time. Those questions and answers were of a confidential nature about personal circumstances and Voicing CSA recognises that trust is an important issue with survivors and consequently will not be shared though it included a great deal about sharing with the Inquiry and engagement.
Judith Staff, who spoke at a Voicing CSA meeting in Leicester was in her home territory and has been a great support for our Northampton meeting delivered a thought provoking approach about how to communicate with children in regard to being safe and how to deal with approaches by an adult. The greatest feedback was the positive reaction to the hand puppet used in Judith’s delivery in communicating appropriate and inappropriate touching without alerting children to any discussion of sexual abuse.
Judith is a CSE project worker and trainer. Judith discusses Early Years and Schools and the important role they can play in prevention and identification of possible indicators of child sexual abuse (CSA).
There followed a great deal of questioning and answering and a fully inclusive time of positivity amongst all in attendance.
The meeting was closed by the Chair who was ‘so pleased to see a greater respect amongst those who attended and a great deal of information shared’. It was wholly supported by all in attendance and a positive day that included a cross section of the community with a diversity of cultures and ethnicity.