A charity supporting families of sexually abused children has been able to continue operating thanks to over £16,000 worth of funding from the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner.
Acts Fast, which works with the non-abusive parents or carers of children who have made a disclosure of sexual abuse, was one of the organisations to receive a Safer Dorset Fund Covid-19 Grant.
The grants were announced by Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill to help Dorset charities that were struggling as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, enabling them to continue providing their existing services or launch new projects to help local people. The pandemic has had a significant impact on all individual’s mental health, particularly those experiencing some form of trauma or abuse.
The charity describes a disclosure as being ‘like a bomb going off with shrapnel cutting into everyone involved’ and affecting lives in ways that parents and carers would never be expecting.
The funding has enabled the charity to provide support for a further 14 new referrals who came forward during the initial lockdown period of 2020, as well as continuing to support the existing clients already receiving help from the charity. Acts Fast provides services including therapeutic care and on-going support, sometimes for years to come, because of the severity of the impact of child sexual abuse.
The COVID-19 support funding also enabled them to provide an enhanced service to dozens of existing clients who needed much more frequent support because of the lockdown. Many of these clients told them they had begun suffering from problems such as increased isolation, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a result of the lockdown.
The charity began holding virtual appointments to replace their original face-to-face appointments and expanded their hours of service to provide evening and weekend sessions to accommodate people who lived with children and could not talk openly during the day.
The COVID-19 grants were available to charities that can help Dorset residents, to help with the emergence of new issues caused by the pandemic, but particularly those that met the objectives of the county’s Police and Crime Plan.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Child sexual abuse doesn’t just have a devastating impact on the victims, but on those close to them, and Acts Fast provides essential help to often overlooked people living through traumatic and damaging situations.
“The pandemic has seen many already vulnerable people becoming even more isolated, and it would have been unthinkable for this organisation’s clients to be left without support.
“Commissioning services that provide a benefit to people in Dorset but otherwise would not exist is one of the most important elements of my role, and I am glad my team were able to meet the challenge presented by the pandemic and provide these vital funds so quickly.”
Mandy Gulliver, CEO and co-founder of Acts Fast, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding at a such a crucial time to enable the charity not only to continue but to continue to provide our vital lifeline of emotional support, which is essential, to help our clients through such a difficult and scary time.”
Acts Fast are continuing to develop their services and meet the expanding demands that COVID-19 is having across all aspects of society. It is hoped this funding will help them continue their supportive work and enable them to go onto support others who have been impacted by child sexual abuse.
The Bournemouth Echo have also covered this story here.
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Tel: 01202 797217