Community approach can benefit survivors in Oldham

After the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) produced its latest report, local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has called on the Council to put its recommendations – and lessons from around the country – into practice in Oldham.

One example is the Quetzal Project in Leicester, which provides free counselling for women recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. They have been running an outreach project to allow women in isolated communities to access counselling, particularly from South Asian backgrounds.

Sam said: “What the Quetzal Project has done really well is reach out to people and communities, not wait for people to come to them. They found the right people in the community, that survivors would trust, and gave them the help they needed to ensure that people got counselling, got support. Those people are now speaking out so that other survivors know that they can get help.

The latest report from IICSA, into ethnic minority survivors of child sexual abuse, looked at many different communities, and made a series of recommendations including reaching out into the community to overcome the trust issues that many people have with formal support organisations.

Having got an agreement from the Council to implement IICSA’s recommendations into their approaches, Councillor Al-Hamdani has written to the Council’s chief executive, Carolyn Wilkins, to ask how the latest findings will be taken on board, and to recommend the Quetzal model as a way of helping isolated survivors.

Sam continued: “While the report was focused on ethnic minorities, many of the recommendations are valid for all communities and people. No matter what community you are from, you are an individual with the same fears and uncertainties as anyone else. What we need to do is break down the barriers that stop people from getting the help they need, whether that is economic, cultural or personal.”

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