Child Abuse – The UK’s Dark Secret Conference


Hundreds of health visitors, counsellors, teachers, police officers, students and charity workers attended a conference at BU on preventing child abuse and recognising

Child Abuse – The UK’s Dark Secret, invited speakers from national charities Enough Abuse and Acts Fast. The conference is the first of its kind to be hosted by a
university in the UK and highlighted the importance of tackling such a taboo subject head on.

The afternoon began with introductions from Dr Andrew Mayers, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at BU and Amanda Gulliver, from Acts Fast a charity who provide trauma
support and advice for abused children and their families.

Co-founder and CEO of Enough Abuse UK, Marilyn Hawes, gave an impassioned talk on the tell-tale signs of grooming and abuse of children. She emphasised the fact
that it’s not just the children who are groomed by the abusers but the adults who look after them too. As a mother of abused children herself, Marilyn spoke candidly about
her own experiences and how important it is to listen to your instincts when it comes to protecting children. During the talk she engaged the audience, questioning
perceptions of what abusers look and act like and what constitutes grooming.

Marilyn commented on the event, “This is innovative, it’s a first, no other university’s done it. They have a passion to do something better in the next decade than we’ve
done previously and be educating people how to look for grooming, how it makes you feel when you’re watching it.

“This is essential to be able to prevent abuse happening. No policy or process or procedure is going to stop abuse, all it does is deal with the reporting on it. We have to
do better than we’ve done and that starts with knowing about grooming.”

Andy Mayers who was one of the organisers of the conference, commented, “My professional interest focuses on the impact of abuse. Evidence, and my own
observations of working with many service users, confirms that child abuse presents a significant risk factor for serious and long term mental illness, eating disorders and

He continued, “Lives are shattered by abuse, and many adults never fully recover. We need to do more to prevent abuse, but we also need to work more closely with those
who have been abused, to help deal with the consequences, and perhaps reduce the risk of developing mental health problems.”


Follow these links to listen to speakers at the conference:

(Video a) ‘We all know a child being abused, a Mum speaks out at the conference’

(Video b) ‘My family was torn about by sexual abuse, campaigner tells harrowing story in bid to help other.

Josh completes the Terminator Run

Terminator run


Josh Travers completed the 11 mile Terminator run on Sunday 22nd February in Pewsey, Wiltshhire in 2hours 4mins and 25secs, beating his last year and first year time by 20 mins! and came 209th out of 500 runners.
All money raised Josh has kindly donated to Acts Fast. Total £387 which is fantastic, a massive thank you Josh! Which will enable us to continue our crucial work to help and support parents and carers.  
The history of Pewsey Vale Running Club goes back to back to 1987 when a group of 7 mates were running in local running events.  Most of the group were keeping fit for squash and completed in 13 races in 1987.
In 1988 the group doubled in size as more people became interested in keeping fit and being active.  Some of the group competed in triathlons at Salisbury, Swanage Bay and Wroughton.   The group competed in various races and over a variety of distances and traveled further to events.  They met up regularly and then decided to form a running club.  As it was towards the end of 1988 they decided to confirm a starting date in January 1989.   The first meeting was held in Pewsey Sport Centre on 19th January 1989 and Pewsey Vale Running Club was formed.
Over the last 20 years, in addition to the Terminator run, the club  also have held the Bluebell Run, Great Bustard and Pewsey Vale Half Marathon events. If your interested in getting fit or taking part you can find more information by visiting

Child Abuse: The UK’s Dark Secret ..

“Listen to Marilyn Hawes, one of the UK’s leading professionals on how to prevent and manage the impact of child sexual abuse.”

Venue: Marconi Lecture Theatre
Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB

Date: Wednesday 11th March 2015

Times: 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Fees: Entry to this event is FREE OF CHARGE

Click to register or for more information

Acts Fast attend ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ Conference

No Excuse For Abuse conference

*First published Saturday 6 December 2014 in Bournemouth Daily Echo by Jane Reader

MORE than 200 delegates from across Dorset attended the No Excuse For Abuse conference held at Bovington Park.

Co-hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and the Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND), it attracted speakers on a range of different topics.

They included domestic abuse survivor Eve Thomas who founded the #SAFE organisation and helped to change legislation.

She said: “The conference was a rip-roaring success with so many professionals committed to fighting the war on domestic violence and abuse.”

PCC Martyn Underhill added: “This awful crime is a huge priority for my team and Dorset Police. It was humbling to see a standing ovation for Eve Thomas who was
brave enough to talk about her experiences that led her to establish the #SAFE project.”

Delegates were able to undertake workshops, expanding on the topics covered in the morning session, and also covering LGBT Domestic Abuse, and Domestic
Abuse Interven-tion Training.

Speakers covered topics including support for young witnesses of domestic abuse, working with perpetrators of abuse, raising awareness of young victims and
introducing the new Dorset Police Domestic Abuse Training DVDs.

The event was chaired by WAND patron Tracey West who said: “One of the things this conference highlighted was the complexity of how domestic abuse is handled by
the various agencies.

“I watched solutions take shape by people simply connecting and talking to each other.”

She added: “The victims of domestic abuse in Dorset will now receive better care as a result of it and I look forward to the day when the epidemic of domestic abuse is
a piece of human history.”

A Big Thank you to Ringwood School

Ringwood School Spud DayThe team at Acts Fast would like to say a ‘BIG’ thank you to Ringwood School who have been kind enough to add Acts Fast to the charities that they donate too on their SPUD DAYS … and for the cheque for £150! which is fantastic!

Please put July 3rd, 2015 in your diary as a reminder to support Ringwood School on their next 

BBC South Today Founders Interviewed

BBC South Today Interview

Acts Fast charity aims to help sexual abuse families

19 November 2014 Last updated at 15:33 GMT

Parents of children who have been sexually abused are set to benefit from a new support charity.
Acts Fast, based in Bournemouth, Dorset, was established to help those struggling to cope when a child reveals they have been sexually abused, often by another member of the family,
The group’s founders believe they are offering vital help to alleviate trauma, isolation and distress for parents.
They say parents often have nowhere to turn to for help when they discover their children have been harmed.

To see the full interview on YouTube …..

Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to the Acts Fast blog! Updated regularly, we thoroughly enjoy sharing our knowledge and experience and aim to offer an insight into everything we do at Acts Fast here on our blog.