Venus Awards

Many Gulliver CEO & Co-Founder is delighted to have received 2 nominations for the Dorset Venus Awards

Venus Awards was founded nearly 10 years ago by Tara Howard to recognise and reward women in business in the local Dorset community.  Coined “The Working Women’s Oscars” the Venus Awards have since expanded accross the country and have recognised hundreds of hard working women and female friendly businesses with the most recent region, London, heralding the 35 awards ceremony.

To find out more visit www.venusawards.co.uk

A Parents experience of AF support

Ground Zero for me was 11th November 2015, it was the day my world as I knew it, had fell apart.  A bomb had gone off in what I thought was a fairly good life and all that was left was devastation, hurt and loneliness.  I had a loving husband, supportive family and friends but all I felt was pain.  As a mother, I found it hard to accept that I was unable to protect my baby girl from the suffering she had endured.  My daughter was only 14 and I wasn’t there for her when she really needed me.

 My daughter didn’t blame anyone.  All she wanted was not to be reminded of her unfortunate experience, so the only request she had for me was to act ‘normal’.  Can I just say ‘normal’ was the hardest thing she could have asked from me at that point but I tried.  During the day I would be a mother, a wife, work full time and do school pick-ups and drops off as normal, but at night all I wanted to do was question why, what I could have done to avoid it and cry.

 In pure desperation for answers, I searched for some kind of support, help, and understanding, anything that would help me to make sense of what had gone on.  I needed to understand what I was feeling and how I could support my daughter when I didn’t know how to support myself.

 This is when I found Acts Fast, it was only a couple of weeks after ground zero but by then it had felt like I had been suffering for an eternity.  Shrapnel of my life before ground zero lay scattered around.

 I left my contact details and my call was returned within a day or so.  Mandy from Acts Fast was a calm, welcoming voice of reason in my life, which had by that point become an uphill struggle of chaos and only just functioning.  I was offered a time slot to visit Mandy at a local Children’s Centre have a cup of tea and a chat.

 From that very visit, I felt validated, understood and supported. Acts Fast helped me find exactly what I needed.  Over several months, I met some amazing, strong women going through the same struggles I was, helping each other understand the whats and the whys.  Having people who truly, deeply know how you feel and why, brings you some kind of peace.  With the support, the love and kindness Acts Fast have provided me, I have been able to support my daughter in a way that she requires and understand what she has been and will be going through.  

 Unfortunately for us, my daughter’s case didn’t have the outcome, we had hoped for due to the lack of evidence. We felt let down and deflated by the system.  With the help of Acts Fast, I was able to question the Dorset Police & Crime Commisioner in the way my daughter’s case had been handled.  My daughter was given the opportunity to voice her experience to the Chief of Dorset Police.  Although the outcome couldn’t be changed, Acts Fast helped us every step of the way to get my daughter the validation she needed, in the way of an apology and a promise to much needed local change. It is a small step that could not have been faced without the support of Mandy at Acts Fast.

 With Acts Fast by my side I have felt strong, I have been able to forgive myself for not being absolutely everywhere at all times and for not being able to prevent what had happened.

 Slowly but surely I have been able to find pieces of shrapnel and put them back together, not necessarily in the same order as before but feeling more whole as time goes by.

 I feel I have gained true friends in the people I have met at Acts Fast and can’t imagine, where I would be now without them.

Funding Boost – DPCC Press Release

“We are extremely pleased and thankful to be supported and commissioned by the Office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). The OPCC, and Martyn Underhill in particular, have seen the vital and valuable work Acts Fast has provided families for Dorset over the last 4 years. They recognise the huge impact child sexual abuse has on the parent and wider family.

When your child discloses they have been sexually abused we liken it to a ‘bomb going off’ and the shrapnel hitting everyone around. At Acts Fast, we provide that much needed ongoing support for the parents, carers and family members.

With the commissioning of our services we are able to continue to help families affected by child sexual abuse.” Mandy Gulliver CEO & Co-Founder.

 Dr Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University and Chair of Trustees at Acts Fast said “We are very grateful for this funding. It will help secure the immediate future of Acts Fast and enable our CEO to focus on ensuring our long-term sustainability. We work hard to provide the support that families need, but we cannot do that without funding.

Children who are sexually abused are far more likely to be at risk for a lifetime of mental health problems. Acts Fast help reduce that impact by working with the child and family as they navigate life after abuse. We will continue to seek funding to ensure that we are able provide that support.”

The figures you asked for over the last couple of years are: 65 referrals, 38 hours of email support, 26 hours of text support, 109 hours of phone calls. Drop-in and one to one counselling started in Poole and Dorchester from April last year and Bournemouth from January 2018: 270 hours of Drop-ins and 104 hours of counselling.

“I desperately needed to speak to someone who would understand what I was going through and to hear of Acts Fast was like a lifeline for me.  Mandy was able to understand the rollercoaster of emotions I was on and helped me understand that I was not alone and she would be there to help me through in any way she could.  I knew nothing of how to go about getting help for my daughters but with Mandy’s help was able to find a wonderful psychotherapist to help with all of my daughters. Sometime later, my daughters wanted to share their story and with Mandy’s help, they were able to help raise awareness with their story in the Bournemouth Echo.  My eldest daughter has also been to speak to governors on the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to discuss what she feels should be done to help other children like her.   From this meeting she has been asked to help design a helpline poster so that all children are able to recognise sexual abuse and relate it to what they are going through.  It is also hoped that she will be able to help in making a video that could be used in schools and through Acts Fast. 

None of this would have been possible without the help of Mandy so I feel strongly about Acts Fast and the support they provide, and funding it needs, to help carry out the much needed work that they do”

Dorset PCC Police Blog

Comment from Dr Andy Mayers

Reporting by Daily Echo

Patron Angus Campbell

We are very humbled to have Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell as one of our patrons

 

Three Girls: It may be closer to home than you think

Press Release: For Immediate Release

As BBC One shows the true-life drama “Three Girls” you might be thinking that this harrowing story of child sexual abuse was unique and isolated. Sadly, children are still being abused, and groomed for abuse, all across the UK. Locally, Acts Fast, a Bournemouth-based charity, provides support across Dorset to non-abusive families, parents, carers and children who have been affected by sexual abuse.

As the story unfolds on TV, Acts Fast is likely to receive calls from people looking for support, or perhaps wishing to disclose that they have been abused, or know someone who has. This distressing account is likely to draw on memories that might have been suppressed because it has been too painful to talk about.

Mandy Gulliver, Acts Fast CEO said “The bravery to speak out about your own child abuse must be commended. The strength it takes to come forward, to tell someone, must not be underestimated, not only to the brave individuals of Rotherham but to all the other individuals out there who have done so, and to those that are still suffering either at the hands of their abuser or silenced through fear.”

“Highlighting how truly rife child abuse is in this country must always be kept in the forefront of people’s minds, to reach as many people suffering as we can. The physiological scars that are left following abuse can lead to a debilitating way of life, clouded in shame and guilt. I can’t stress enough the support and understanding individuals and families need when faced with this devastating life-changing reality”

Dr Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, is Chair of Trustees at Acts Fast. He said “As a psychologist specialising in mental health, I am acutely aware of the impact that sexual abuse in childhood has on a lifetime of mental health problems. Many adults with acute mental health difficulties have experienced childhood abuse. One of my roles at Acts Fast is too look at how we can help victims, and their families, survive the mental health fallout.”

“However, we cannot do this work without support. We need funding to help us provide that support. We are also always keen to talk to volunteers and potential trustees to help us carry out that work. If you feel you can help us, we would like to hear from you.”

For more information on Acts Fast, please call 01202 797 217 or visit www.actsfast.org.uk. Donations, to support the work at Acts Fast can be made at https://www.actsfast.org.uk/donate/

Robert Montagu becomes Patron for Acts Fast.

robert-montegu-photo

Robert Montagu becomes Patron for Acts Fast.

Acts Fast, a Bournemouth-based charity providing support for victims of child sexual abuse, and their (non-abusive) family, is proud to announce a new Patron. Robert Montagu is a highly respected psychotherapist, based near Weymouth.

Having been an importer of wines, pottery and ceramics for 25 years, Robert retrained as a psychotherapist (aged 50). He worked in Child and Adolescent mental health for the NHS before going private in 2007. He started the Family Counselling Trust to help families on low income in the south west, so that they could have access to high quality counselling for a range of emotional issues, at a cost they could afford. In 2014, Robert published a book ‘A Humour of Love’ drew on his experience of being sexually abused as a child. In that book, he revealed a sexual relationship that he had with his father, starting from the age of seven. It was that experience that has shaped much of his professional work, and his desire to be associated with Acts Fast. Since the publication of the book, Robert has combined working as a psychotherapist with families, extending the work of the Trust, and campaigning for the introduction of mandatory reporting of sex crimes against children nationwide.

Robert Montagu said “I hope that small charities such as Acts Fast that help promote such reporting in communities like Bournemouth continue to spread throughout the UK and will bring pressure on Government to act fast and reform the law”.

Mandy Gulliver, Acts Fast founder and CEO, said “We are extremely proud to announce and fortunate that Robert Montagu has agreed to be another Patron for Acts Fast, supporting the crucial work we do”

Dr Andrew Mayers, a psychologist at Bournemouth University and Chair of Trustees for Acts Fast, said “It is a great honour for Acts Fast to have a Patron with such standing as Robert Montagu. It is commendable that he has chosen to use the terrible experience he encountered as a child to make a difference for future generations“.

Generous Donation

“We are extremely grateful to have received a very generous donation, arising from Reachout’s closure. This will ensure, that we can continue our vital work in supporting families, who have been affected by chid sexual abuse”