MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Mon 01-Feb-21 10:36:06

Whether you were assaulted yesterday or years ago, it can leave you feeling frightened, upset and overwhelmed

For Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, the Ministry of Justice explains why their #ItStillMatters campaign is so important

Sexual Abuse Support team

Ministry of Justice

Posted on: Mon 01-Feb-21 10:36:06

(47 comments )

Lead photo

One in five women (eight million) in the UK have been sexually abused

Did you know that one in five women (eight million) in the UK have been sexually abused, or that one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused?*

This week, 1 to 7 February, is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, and we at the Ministry of Justice want to highlight our #ItStillMatters campaign.

Being a victim of sexual assault can be traumatic and, whether it happened yesterday or years ago, it can leave you feeling frightened, upset and overwhelmed.

Sexual abuse has been linked to 11% of all common mental health disorders, 15% of eating disorders and 17% of post-traumatic stress disorders.*

It’s important to remember that no matter what happened, it isn’t your fault and you don’t need to face this alone. You can get confidential support from specialists who understand how hard it is to talk about sexual abuse and violence. The first step to reach out for support will be different for everyone. You can speak to someone over the phone or chat to someone online. Whether you want to get emotional support from trained counsellors, understand how the criminal justice system works or just be listened to and believed, you will be heard.

I honestly could not have got through this whole process without my ISVA.


One anonymous survivor who was helped by National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) says:

“I could rationalise my experience before, but I could not connect with it for fear I would be consumed by the sadness of it all. Through seeking support, I am now in touch with my emotions and feelings which is new for me.

“Now I feel that particular misconceptions have been rewritten. I’m now happy to feel it, I’m embracing all of it and I’m finding that it’s getting less overpowering the more I encounter with it through the support that I am receiving.”

Another, who was helped by Safeline, says:

‘’I honestly could not have got through this whole process without my ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate). She just got me. She understood what I was going through and she knew how I needed to be told things and handled.

“Sometimes you meet someone at the right time and she was it for me. I would not have got through it without her. Simple as that. I remember her telling me to keep breathing and, when I was in court, I could hear her breathing too and it reminded me that I was not alone.

“My ISVA never compromised on their aim to put me first. I would trust her with my life and I think if anyone is going through something similar, then they won’t go far wrong in getting the support required.’’

It’s so important for sexual abuse and assault survivors to remember that they don’t have to face this alone. If you need help or support go to gov.uk/sexualabusesupport. Support organisations will be able to explain your choices and help you decide the best way forward for you. Also, please remember that you don’t have to ask for have support if you don’t want to and you don’t have to report it, if you choose not to. But whenever it happened, #ItStillMatters.

*All statistics from Safeline.org.uk.

By Sexual Abuse Support team

Twitter: /hashtag/ItStillMatters

Langrycleg Mon 01-Feb-21 12:59:34

Good to highlight this issue. I wonder if you need help with dealing with it, you could ask for help from someone of your sex? I am aware that they deal with survivors of both sexes.

Chocolatewins Mon 01-Feb-21 16:23:16

It's a nice sentiment but comes a week after CPS was in court defending is woeful approach to charging rape cases. It would be better if the justice system believed it still (ever?) mattered.

ILoveMyCaravan Mon 01-Feb-21 16:39:34

Excellent news!!

So will I now be able to access more than 20 sessions with a specialist trauma informed clinical psychologist for my cPTSD?

No? Thought not.

It's all very well saying reach out for support but the Government needs to put more resources into mental health services and quickly!

smilelaughlove82 Mon 01-Feb-21 18:21:30

@ILoveMyCaravan
Well said, totally agree!

Langrycleg Mon 01-Feb-21 19:08:13

Good posts caravan and chocolate

PrawnofthePatriarchy Mon 01-Feb-21 20:55:55

With the appalling dearth of MH support for any group I can't imagine there's much out there for the victims of sexual abuse. To do any good takes a lot of time and resources.

I've been raped but it was a long time ago. My son's girlfriend was raped much more recently. There was nothing for her - so fat chance there'd be anything for me.

Tbh I think getting conviction rates for sex offences would do more to improve the morale of victims. My son's girlfriend was devastated when the CPS decided not to prosecute her attacker. He taunted her about it.

Advertisement

Langrycleg Tue 02-Feb-21 10:29:01

Yes absolutely Prawn. It is absolutely shocking there is no chance of justice for rape victims, let alone mental health support. But this was even before the pandemic which has put on additional pressure to any services. Has anyone used the services above I wonder? And how were they?

meringue33 Tue 02-Feb-21 17:45:06

I rang Rape Crisis about my historic rape and they were excellent but had to cut off the conversation as their helpline is not funded 24-7...

Blueeyedgirl21 Tue 02-Feb-21 18:58:48

@meringue33 I contacted rape crisis recently too. They gave me some links to look at and were very apologetic but the advisors shift ended at a certain time and they had to be finished on the dot. I don’t blame them at all for this as why should they do unpaid work? But it seems that the only decent help is really to pay for therapy yourself

Krazynights34 Tue 02-Feb-21 19:13:58

Have any of you done the recent (still live) Home Office survey for abuse of women and children?
I’m no believer that things will change but it’s worth asking.
And yes we bloody need funding for therapy and support and a bunch of other things. Online and phone services are useful but not nearly as useful as being believed in the first instance or helped to report.
I really believe there should be a lower standard of proof in sexual assault/rape etc cases as it’s rare that there will be CCTV or other “objective” evidence of it’s done in secret/behind closed doors and it’s historic or the person is a prominent figure.
I’m actually starting to write a book about this!

Howzaboutye Tue 02-Feb-21 21:52:03

Dear OP have you considered asking men not to attack women?

Blueeyedgirl21 Tue 02-Feb-21 22:01:39

@Howzaboutye I’ve come to the realization that a lot of men don’t even consider what they’re doing is wrong. Think education around consent and stuff around that is the way forward

ILoveMyCaravan Tue 02-Feb-21 22:10:21

I'd like to ask a genuine question to the Ministry of Justice/Sexual Abuse Support Team.

It seems to me that many of the organisations that you are signposting victims to contact are actually charities. Do you financially support any of them, and if so, how much funding are they currently receiving?

Over the years I have been in touch with most of them NAPAC, Victim Support, Rape Crisis, The Truth Project, HAVOCA etc.

As good as it is to speak to someone when in crisis, it does not help in the long term. What does help is 1-1 talking therapy with a trauma informed specialist. Not a volunteer on the end of a phone (if you can get through). But the therapy has to be on-going and not capped at a certain number of sessions because that's all that's on offer.

The mental health service currently provided is NOT ENOUGH by a long way and you are not even close. Your post makes me so angry because most people who are not in my position might just believe that your 'campaign' is offering all that it should. It isn't and never has done.

There are very few choices and very little support. #WeDon'tMatter

Chocolatewins Tue 02-Feb-21 22:33:34

They do fund them but as you have already guessed not enough to provide what is actually needed. Also the nature of the funding means charities are often undercutting each other to get short term contracts. It's a pretty brutal world.

tellmewhentheLangshiplandscoz Wed 03-Feb-21 10:59:47

Chocolatewins

It's a nice sentiment but comes a week after CPS was in court defending is woeful approach to charging rape cases. It would be better if the justice system believed it still (ever?) mattered.


Just this really.

picklemewalnuts Wed 03-Feb-21 11:24:18

Blueeyedgirl21

*@Howzaboutye* I’ve come to the realization that a lot of men don’t even consider what they’re doing is wrong. Think education around consent and stuff around that is the way forward


What everyone else says, and also this ^^

We have to do better at teaching persistence is pestering. Women engage freely in sexual behaviours with partners and don't need to be persuaded, coerced, nagged... and those behaviours are abusive.

OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn Wed 03-Feb-21 11:38:41

When I first read this post I couldn’t reply I was so fucking angry.

It was the smug, patronising, smarmy, sleekidness of “Did you know...?”

NO SHIT SHERLOCK

Did YOU know its us suffering the damn abuse, and crying out for help to stop it, and trying to protect women and children the best we can because the govt and society at large is currently failing to do so???

So yes we know hmm

And as Caravan points out we also know you foist any responsibility of care onto charities and NGO’s who have to battle you for every penny and it’s still not enough.

Just like the abusers out there, we see you,
and a reckoning is coming because alongside shoving all the responsibility onto victims to change their behaviour, charities/NGO’s, and victims again, to cope with the aftermath....

WE SEE YOU effectively decriminalise rape, sexual assault, all forms of domestic abuse, grooming and child sexual abuse by not investigating, not proceeding, not convicting, not imprisoning, not tracking, not preventing, not condemning, not funding specialised care and, more than any damn thing-

Not being fucking honest about how little you care and persisting in the type gas-lighting BS in the original post.

👏 Slow hand clap for MOJ👏

Stressedout1980 Wed 03-Feb-21 13:26:55

This is painful, even more for watching your child go through it

PoddingtonPea21 Wed 03-Feb-21 13:27:42

OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn Totally Agree.

I have contibuted to IICSA and the APPG for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, the MOJ have the research and info they need on what Survivors want and need. They have the ONS figures on how many of us there are, which is noted to be a conservative estimate, and then choose to chronically underfund it, it is open and direct negligence and makes many services geographically inaccessible.

I would like to add the GPs and NHS Services that do exactly the same. I have come to the conclusion as soon as you mention your a survivor and need help you're written off, if you need more than a few rounds of CBT and EMDR, until you hit crisis point, which costs the Government more in the long run. CCGs and Commissioners who are a law unto themselves have a responsibility here and won't help until they are mandated to do so.

My personal opinion is the Government thought they would sweep the majority of survivors out in the IICSA Truth Project, make them feel heard and that they had helped in the fight, pat on the head and we should pop back off under the rug, from whence we came.

To be fair, IMHO the Tories have done more for Survivors than any other Government in terms of recognition and starting to try to meet need, but we need action and services not another PR campaign.

ImnotCarolineHirons Wed 03-Feb-21 13:47:22

Everything that @OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn said
👏 👏 👏

CandyLeBonBon Wed 03-Feb-21 14:55:56

Yes to everything @OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn said.

PrawnofthePatriarchy Wed 03-Feb-21 20:09:15

ILoveMyCaravan and OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn are right.

I really can't understand why the MoJ have engaged in this Guest Post when the Ministry has so very little to offer survivors. It doesn't make them look good.

OldPervsWithNoFannyOfTheirOwn Thu 04-Feb-21 00:28:21

I really can't understand why the MoJ have engaged in this Guest Post when the Ministry has so very little to offer survivors. It doesn't make them look good

Quite PrawnofthePatriarchy

Its akin to Corbyn nipping round to a synagogue to explain anti-semitism and how to feel about it, or Trump visiting the border to let immigrants know they can have some CBT from the red cross to deal with having their kids removed.

Utterly batshit.

Mintyt Thu 04-Feb-21 07:01:52

Haven't read as don't want to. But went I was about 12 I was assaulted. He was "caught" and spoken too. Years later I saw him and knew where he lived, one day police were removing clear bags of his stuff -video- tapes ect. The house was sold. Years later I was at the checkout in Sainsbury's and I looked up and saw him, our eyes "locked" I finished packing and paying and when after him ! I wanted to say I know you and repeat his bus conductors number to him but he had gone very quickly- it hasn't damaged me but it's there

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in