We all want people who need specialist therapeutic support following sexual violence to get the best possible care. In the UK most organisations, including health care providers such as your GP, are likely to refer you to the local specialists if you need therapy following an experience of sexual violence. Those specialists are the third-sector providers who have been helping people heal from sexual harm for years. However, whilst many employers, universities and other organisation refer into these charities those referrals are rarely joined with any funding for the charity to carry out their essential work. As a consequence, when someone is referred for specialist support they are likely to find themselves facing a 12-18 month waiting list for the therapy they desperately need.
We contacted our local specialist support organisation, Survivors' Network in Brighton, to see if we could help them support people who were waiting for therapy.
We created a bespoke webpage for Survivors' Network featuring our psycho-educational videos that are designed to support people who've experienced sexual violence. Some of the hardest elements of living with the impact of sexual harm can be a sense of isolation, not having a language for your experience, and living with the impact of your trauma responses. Having access to resources that can help you understand yourself and help you feel like part of a wider community can be an essential part of any healing journey.
On the resource page we created channels of video content focusing on self-care, understanding trauma, sex and relationships, justice, our cooking shows, our gameshow podcast, and a channel on activism. This page was made available to all clients, volunteers and staff at Survivors' Network.
The resource page has been put to excellent use at Survivors' Network. As the same resource page is available to staff, volunteers and clients the benefits can be felt in many ways.
For new clients, when they are referred to Survivors' Network, they are now given access to this resource page. Staff have commented that it's been powerful to give people extra support in addition to their helpline, that the resources can also be useful for the friends and family of their clients, and it can help those clients who'd like to campaign for change as it includes resources that supports healthy activism.
For staff and volunteers, Survivors' Network are using the page as an additional training tool with feedback that the video content has helped people feel more equipped to have certain conversations with clients, that they are useful to refer specific clients to if one of the videos becomes relevant to a part of their therapy, and that they have been a useful way for the team to join together during lockdown by selecting specific videos to watch and then discuss as a group.
We're proud that our video resource pages are now being used to support clients and staff by Edinburgh Rape Crisis, Survivors' Network and Cape Town Rape Crisis Trust.