Posted: 20 November 2018

Christmas can be a time of loneliness

Thousands of children across the country are affected by sexual abuse and exploitation. For these children, Christmas is just another painful reminder of the happiness they’re missing out on.

We work to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation and help victims recover from the trauma they’ve faced, so that all children can enjoy a happy Christmas, free from fear and loneliness. For some of the children we've worked with, this will be their first Christmas in years. 

Tackling trauma

There are several types of child sexual exploitation and abuse and all children and young people are at risk, regardless of age, gender or where they live.

We support both those at risk of CSE/CSA and those who have experienced it. Even after the sexual abuse has stopped, its impact remains and can have seriously damaging effects on a young person. 

For young people who have experienced CSA like Angela, the road to recovery is a long one and requires intensive support. Karen is one of our specialist practitioners and she is helping Angela recover from three years of sexual, physical and mental abuse.

young person and project worker

Angela, now 16 years old, was abused from the age of 8 to 11, and afterwards faced years of anxiety, depression and isolation. With help and support from Karen, Angela has been able to begin her journey to recovery and can now enjoy Christmas with her family.  

Karen says 'when Angela first came to The Children's Society for support, she was afraid to even leave her house and she was very self-conscious'.

Although there may be many reasons for not wanting to leave the house, victims of CSE/CSA will often isolate themselves through fear of encountering their abusers. In Angela’s case, this was worsened when friends at school bullied her, saying things like ‘it was her fault it happened’.

DONATE TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF CSA

Karen offered Angela a safe space to talk, where Angela could talk about anything she wanted. Alongside these one-to-one sessions with Karen, Angela also attended weekly group sessions where she and other young people who had also experienced abuse, could come together to share their experiences.

‘I didn’t think I was so alone’

Angela gradually felt able to go into town on her own and used coping mechanisms she’d learnt in group to manage feelings of anxiety and self-harm.

Back on track

Angela is now doing well in school and preparing for her GCSEs. She is no longer self-harming and hopes to one day be an advocate and speaker for those who have experienced abuse.

Jessica, the practitioner who led Angela’s group sessions, says 'Angela is a different girl to the one who first walked through our doors. She is happy, confident, full of hope and is now able to see herself in a positive light, with little of the self-blame that she carried with her for so long'.

Young girl and mother happy

Angela says ‘The Children’s Society has done a lot for me. I have gained my hope back and my trust in people’. Christmas, rather than being a time of bad memories, is now something to look forward to.

Angela’s mum notes ‘it’s nice to see her looking forward, instead of being stuck in that experience’.

Help a child like Angela this Christmas

No child should ever have to face sexual abuse, or experience the trauma it leaves behind. This is true at any time of year but Christmas can often reinforce feelings of separation and loneliness.

This Christmas, all across the country, our supporters are coming together to change thousands of children's lives. And we’d love for you to join them by making a donation to our appeal, so that we can help more children look forward to brighter futures.

DONATE TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF CSA

 

By Kaja Zuvac-Graves
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Angela's story

Posted: 30 October 2018

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