(L-R): Nadia Whittome (Young Advisor), Paddy Tipping, Gwen Palmer (Service User) and Cath Wakeman (Exec Director)
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has described the work of IMARA, a child sexual abuse early intervention support service based in West Bridgford, as ‘inspiring’.
Speaking during a visit when he met members of the IMARA team alongside some of those who have used the group’s services, he said that he was pleased to see his funding being used to such positive effect.
“Sadly, this is often a hidden crime as victims and their families lack the confidence to come forward and report it. We have all worked hard to impress upon people that if they come forward they will be treated with sensitivity, and I’m pleased to see that reporting in on the increase.
“Appropriate support for victims is essential if they are to cope and recover, and I was reassured to see how this small community interest company helps to heal the lives of child victims of sexual abuse and vulnerable family members who have experienced this despicable crime.
“Tackling violence against women has always been one of my priorities, and I know how important grants are in helping organisations like Imara provide the support that victims need,” the Commissioner added.
“The work done by Imara is designed to help children and adults with complex needs to recover from, their traumatic experiences and to cope with trials and legal issues.”
Tamsin Baldwin, IMARA’s Executive Director, commented, “Abuse of this nature so often remains hidden and unspoken. Our families welcome the opportunity to speak to Mr Tipping about their experience of our service.”
Imara’s Early Intervention Support service aims to improve the mental health of child victims and vulnerable family members through advocating on their behalf, supporting them within the criminal justice process and providing them with therapeutic interventions. The Commissioner’s Community Safety Fund part-funded 20% of the therapeutic work with a grant of nearly £12,000 this year.
Mr Tipping pointed out; “There is no magic wand with this type of work. It takes time and skill to help traumatised victims recover and feedback from questionnaires and testimonials continues to be predominantly positive.”
Outcomes measured on a trauma scale indicate that last year 69% of children showed an overall improvement across three different ratings. In other scores, 48% of children showed improvement in feeling heard and understood; 45% showed improvement in feeling good about themselves; 47% showed improvement in feeling safe; and 46% improvement in playing and enjoyment.
Among the adults taking part in the project, 70% showed an overall improvement across two different ratings. One vulnerable adult wrote: “I can now actually get out of bed in a morning without the dread and fear of facing the day and its usual activities like going to work. I was in complete despair with tears falling every day with no understanding of why. Now I understand that everything that I think, feel, say and do are ‘Normal’ under the circumstances. They are incredible people who do amazing work. I simply do not know where I would be without them - that doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 16th February 2016