We are delighted and proud to have recently been awarded the High Sheriff of Dorset Award for our valuable service to the community. The award is such a privilege to receive in recognition of our dedication to the community we serve and the caring, on-going support we provide.
George Streatfeild, High Sherriff of Dorset presented the award to CEO Mandy Gulliver which recognises the appreciation of the residents and people of Dorset. We were particularly honoured to be recognised for the outstanding contribution made to the welfare and life of the community.
The High Sheriff visited us on 8th December to present the award, which was a lovely moment to connect and we thoroughly enjoyed his visit! High Sheriff George Streatfeild said following his visit:
I was so glad to be able to visit a few organisations now, following the end of Lockdown 2, and today I called in on Mandy Gulliver in Poole who set up and runs Acts Fast, a supportive charity covering the whole of Dorset.
It evolved from providing a volunteer counselling and group support service at ‘From Hurting 2 Healing’. Realising the enormity of the chronic lack of support for non-abusive parents/carers and families after their child’s disclosure of sexual abuse, she felt there was a lack of support for the families within Dorset and at the time only a couple of other charities nationally. The disclosure has been aptly described as akin to a bomb going off; shrapnel indiscriminately cutting into everyone involved, and without specialised support and understanding, the families are left to carry the shrapnel alone.
She works with a small team including Paula and Carrie, and throughout the pandemic they have been able to keep in touch with many of the families affected. Parents will feel even more isolated at the time of disclosure when having to admit that a partner or family member has been abusing their child seems impossible. But the support that Mandy and her team can provide helps to alleviate the blame that they and other members of the family often feel.
Over 60% of perpetrators are family members and this makes the crime even more shocking and difficult to deal with. The team is skilled in trauma therapy for all those in the household, and now supports around 250 families throughout Dorset, with about 50 accessing regular sessions either face to face or over the phone.
Mandy has been supported by local charity funding, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and some great local businesses. She has recently applied to the National Lottery, who can see the value in family support rather than just counselling for the affected child. And it was because of this huge dedication, I was privileged to present her with a Hugh Sheriff’s Award
We were delighted to receive him for the visit and thank him so much for shining a light on the need to offer support to the wider victims of child sexual abuse.