A Parents Experience and Feedback about Acts Fast

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 what’s 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 Commissioner 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.

A Mothers Experience of ActsFast

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 the charity to continue to carry out the much needed work that they do. Anonymous

Client anonymous feedback of ActsFast

“Many thanks for everything you both do, you’re brilliant and inspirational ladies” Anonymous Thank you again, Acts Fast is being a real-life line in this. Anonymous Lovely ladies and very helpful – thank you! Anonymous Thank goodness that services like you exist. Anonymous I had no expectations to begin with, but it has been the single best think that I have ever done for myself. Anonymous Being listened to without judgement. Anonymous I doubt that anything could have been done better by the counsellor. Anonymous Thank god you’re here, by just finding your website at night I was able to sleep better that night. Anonymous The help and support from Acts Fast has helped me build resilience. Anonymous It made such a great difference to my mental health. I can’t thank you both enough for meeting me and for your kindness and understanding. I gained so much from things that Amanda said to me. Anonymous

I came to Acts Fast at a point when I had been brought emotionally to my knees

“I came to Acts Fast at a point when I had been brought emotionally to my knees; my Step Daughter’s disclosure of abuse by her birth father, and the realisation that my Wife had been targeted and chronically abused by him, raised my stress levels to the point where my heart physically failed and I questioned whether I had the emotional heart to go on. Nowadays there is plenty of support for the victim, but there are so many victims at so many levels in such cases, from parents and grandparents through to siblings and now obvious place to go to get support. 18 months on from his conviction we were at an all-time low, adrift on a sea of despair, looking for any port in the ongoing storm; Mandy and her team at Acts Fast provided the safe harbour equipped with everything we needed to gain perspective and knowledge, regain our self-esteem and confidence and emerge from a veritable quagmire of depression and despair. Six months on and I hardly recognise, nor can I relate to, the hollow foetal curled wreck that presented to Mandy and her team, as I stand tall, cleansed not only from the final straw that made my burden unbearable, but from a catalogue of trauma induced negatives, which had preceded the horrendous final event. Thank you.

My counsellor signposted me to Acts fast in December 2017

My counsellor signposted me to Acts fast in December 2017 after my children made disclosures of inappropriate touching by their father. Since then, the ongoing support I and my family have received from Acts fast has been invaluable.

When my 8 year old son was at preschool, the leader said that he was showing signs of being a gifted and talented child, particularly in maths. Then his behaviour changed when he started school. He was not concentrating well, couldn’t keep still and would get into trouble and the spark that the preschool leader had seen had disappeared.

I escaped the relationship with my children’s father in 2016 after seeing his abusive behaviour towards me and the children escalate. My main motivation was to protect my children. I set up a new life a safe distance from him and my son started a new school. His emotions have been up and down and he has had counselling for anxiety. My daughter has also suffered and may have counselling to help her deal with her feelings.

After a lengthy period of healing and going through the Family Court system, my children made the disclosures. Everything in our world felt shattered. I felt that I had let my children down. The family court, social services and cafcass hadn’t taken the children’s disclosures and my ongoing concerns seriously enough. Unsupervised contact with their father has been resumed ever since. There is a huge sense that the children don’t have a voice because of their age, in this current system.

Our situation is ongoing and the support and wisdom that we, as a household, have received from Mandy and Paula has been vital. We have no closure but Actsfast is helping me as the children’s main caregiver, to manage my self care and strength through what is an extremely difficult and complex situation. I am now training to become a counsellor in the hope that one day I can help others who are in a similar situation.

I had a parents consultation meeting before Easter 2019 and my son’s teacher has said he’s seen a spark in my son that he didn’t know was there, particularly in maths. Things aren’t as they should be, but we are managing a lot better through having that specialised support.

Acts fast understand the complex nature of trauma as a result of coercive control, which doesn’t go away after a court order has been made, and I’m so extremely grateful that my counsellor signposted me to them, as my children and I as a household, would not have built up the resilience that we have now as a result of that on going support and expert understanding.