Thursday, 1 December 2016

Voicing CSA National Meetings for Survivors of Abuse

I have spoken at two of Voicing CSA (VCSA) meetings now. One in Todmorden West Yorkshire and the second in Telford Shropshire; my Todmorden presentation was entitled The Abuse of Power in all Abusive Relationships and my Telford one was The Effects After Grooming. Both presentations are hard hitting, informative and I set out to educate the audience.

I speak about abuse; I shout about it. I am not afraid of the perpetrator and I will never be silenced. To be silenced make me complicit because perpetrators hide behind secrets, silence, fear and threats. I will not play that game and never be silenced or fearful again. Anyone reading this must not be fearful. Narcissists are weak when they lose control over their victim; let’s ensure we make every narcissist and sociopath weak.

Narcissists rely on grooming their victim and all those around them; family, friends and extended family, I call this “The Charming Syndrome”. Most abusers are in places of power and abuse that power to groom their victim. By having a place of power makes it almost impossible for the community and society at large to believe that “they could ever do anything so sinister as to abuse a child or young person”. Open your eyes and look into the cracks and darkest of corners and you will see.

The VCSA meetings are extremely productive, well attended by survivors, deliver a wide range of knowledge from very eminent speakers and certainly raise awareness of child sexual abuse and the lifelong effects on the victims and survivors.

Survivors are given a safe space to share their journey (if they wish) and many do, their stories are heart-breaking. Survivors are also given a safe space to give advice on their own perspective of the disclosure and court process and procedures. This can be very helpful and informative to other survivors who may be going through the court process or are considering commencing a disclosure of their own abuse.

Professional attendees have been Sexual Assault & Rape Centres (SARC), Victim Support and Victim Support Sexual Assault Outreach Centre, the police, lawyers and social workers; many other professionals and a wide range of victims and survivors of abuse. We even motivate local radio and the press to attend; it is awesome the impact VCSA has, and is making throughout the UK.

There is always therapy and support in place for anyone who is triggered or needs a quiet space to think, consider and digest.

The speaker’s presentations can be viewed on Vimeo, Voicing CSA website, Facebook and Twitter.

Up-coming meetings can be viewed here:  www.voicingcsa.co.uk

VCSA’s message is clear: To give survivors a safe space and to raise awareness of the depth of child sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault in all institutions and organisations where children have been cared for, and now attend, in order to make a safer future for all children of today and tomorrow.

VCSA intends to travel the UK holding meetings in as many UK cities and towns as possible to support victims and survivors and to raise awareness of the issues surrounding CSA as well as giving advice, knowledge and information to victims, survivors, agencies, professionals and the community.

Please share this blog post widely to help get the message out there. In the light of the Football scandal being unearthed we should all now be looking at every regulated institution and organisation where children attend and be asking them to consult their memories and files and declare any wrong doing from the past. Child abuse is, and must be, everyone’s business and we must all speak up and out if we are really serious about safeguarding children now and in the future.

The best gift you can give to any child, young person or adult this Christmas (or at any time of year) is TO BELIEVE THEM.

Believe and get the right support.

The breaking Football Scandal is only the tip of the ice burg, this is happening in every corner of the community and society. Remember abusers do not want to be caught or “outed” so gagging orders and payments to be silenced are the ultimate precipice or tactic that the abuser will use keep the silence, secret and fear. So now is the time to come forward and speak out about any suspected or known abuse, both now or in the past. Its time. The brave footballers who have spoken out have paved the way for all our voices to be heard and believed. So don't make this a wasted moment. Come forward to save a child, young person or adult's life.



@voicing_csa

Friday, 28 October 2016

Immigration Marriage Fraud

If you don't know how Marriage Immigration Fraud feels let me tell you the devastation one feels when you come to your senses and realise that the love of your life is a fake. 

After 10 years of unconditional love you feel a complete and utter fool to have been sucked into this carnage and mess. How could an intelligent mature career woman have been duped by a man for 10 years? How can this vile man have kept up the fa├žade for 10 years? This behaviour begs all to ask themselves, what sort of man thinks this way and makes the conscious decision to seek out a woman and commit such devastating fraud. The abuser will spend hours, days and years love bombing their victim, then date and even marry victim knowing full well that the entire relationship is built on falsehoods and is some sort of sick game.

Immigration marriage fraud is relatively unknown but extremely prevalent. And the devastation it causes to the victim is equal to complex post-traumatic stress syndrome (cPTSD). When the perpetrator and abuser leave the victim, the after effects for the victim are disastrous. The self-blame, embarrassment, guilt and shame that the victim feels for many years causes life threatening behaviours, substance abuse, self-harming, isolation, exiled from family members and friends, even suicidal thoughts and in some cases, suicide.

I want to make everyone to be aware of this wicked crime and understand that it happens and is going on all around us. I want everyone to understand the sick to your stomach feeling when you realise your marriage has been a sham. When you have invited a man into your life home and family and they have pretended to enjoy the family relationships and bonds. What sort of person can keep this up? I will tell you –narcissistic, sociopathic individuals, even psychopaths. They have no conscience about what they have done or are doing and the devastation they leave behind.

The devastation does not just affect the victim; it affects the family and extended family, the children, friends and the wider community. The whole of the immigration system is put to shame as there is no system in place to check individuals and the individuals are not interviewed by the Home Office with their partner/wife/husband in order to check out the situation. There is no follow up. After the Citizenship Ceremony and the Home Office Interview – the little red book can be picked up. This is when the perpetrator changes his loving behaviours and becomes an abuser.

Consequently, there is confusion and no one feels the same anymore. No one looks at the victim the same way anymore. Everyone around the victim has that look of we told you so or we tried to warn you. The victim can never be the same person ever again. What the victim feels is indescribable. The victim isolates themselves, as it is easier to shut one-self away – then there is no explaining. The victim can never trust men again or trust herself to make good choices in men ever again. Having made such a mistake, how can the victim trust her own instincts ever again? How can you know when a man is telling you the truth? How does anyone know? Perpetrators will tell you anything to suck you into their criminal world.

There is also nowhere to go with this crime. The authorities do not recognise this crime yet. It is hard to prove as always – one word against another. The courts struggle to believe either side – the victim or the perpetrator. The victim is left to suffer the consequences of a criminal gang of scammers and 419ers who target women on dating websites. The 419ers endeavour to target women with money; sadly my scammer picked a girl with no money. Nevertheless, the damage and devastation is no less. I will never get over being scammed, partly because although everyone told me to be careful and no one in my friends or family trusted him, I believed he loved me with his whole being and unconditionally. I believed this relationship was forever and I had found my soulmate and love of my life. For two years he love bombed me.

On reflection, I realise I had not at all. He was just out for what he could gain from me. Knowledge of the British system, a roof over his head, clothes, food and wine, holidays, use of my car, my intelligence to write his CV and job applications and the most valuable little red book in the world – a British Passport. I did everything for him; he asked me to do everything for him. I loved him unconditionally and I wanted to help him and be a good wife – that’s what you do, don’t you? Once we separated he disclosed that I had controlled him – bullshit, he had groomed and coerced me into believing that we were in a marriage – immigration marriage fraud. He is sociopathic, narcissistic and psychopathic. He has attempted to paint me as the bad person, when I did nothing wrong other than throw my tea in his face when he succumbed to yet another lie. That day I asked him to leave. I couldn’t go through an abusive relationship for a second time. It was over and he packed and left. He gets on with his life in London while I have the trauma of picking up the pieces and trying to get on with my life and move on.

There is so much more to my story; far too much to write here. There is more to come. Stay posted to this blog for updates.





28.10.15
@ed2inspire


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Why I can never be fully healed from my abuse

I believe trauma from abuse is impossible to forget or heal from completely. Friends and family sometimes suggest more counselling but they don’t understand. You see, there will always be triggers; smells, noises, places, words, music, lyrics, voices, TV programmes, dinners, restaurants, gifts, outings, even Olly Murs new single and more. Sixteen years on and I am still triggered but the size of the trauma from the trigger has reduced over time but will never dissolve completely. How can it? In life something always pops up (just when I think I have cracked it) as a reminder of the suffering, so how can I truly forget. I still can spend hours sobbing over a movie or a number one hit, whose lyrics hit the spot. Or have a terrible down day remembering an evening out, dinner in a favourite restaurant or for no reason at all.

Personally, there is only so much counselling and therapy one can take in one’s lifetime. Do I want to keep going over the same ground sixteen years on in counselling session after session? Do I want to regurgitate my story every week or month? No, I don't. You see there has come a point in my life when no amount of therapy can ever help me to forget completely and there is a part of me that doesn’t want to anyway. The abuse has been part of my life and has made me who I am today. On reflection I have learnt so much from that period of my life about myself and others (good and bad) and I couldn’t do the work I do today without that education.

I know what it feels like to be coerced, controlled and gas lit. I know what it feels like to be duped and lied to. I know what it feels like to become a hostage in my own home and isolated from friends and family. I know what it feels like to live with someone leading a double life. I know what it feels like to be suicidal and so depressed you live in a fog. I know what it feels like to lose trust in someone who should love and take care of you, respect you and support you. I am lucky to be able to feel these feelings and emotions deep in my soul in order that I can understand and empathise with victims whole-heartedly.

The only way I can explain to you is like this: at the base of my brain, smaller than a tiny fresh "Birds Eye" garden pea is a minute nugget of pain and trauma that will go to my grave with me and it’s OK. OK because I can't change it, I can't help it and I have reconciled with it. OK because I can’t live without that little nugget, it keeps me safe. It reminds me to take care of myself, to never submit myself to be abused again. It reminds me to respect myself. It reminds how to recognise abuse and the abuser. It reminds me to be careful who I trust and when to trust and that is not often, I can tell you.

Trust is a big issue for me and I still get triggered all these years on and I don't expect anyone to tell me "that I should get over it or get more counselling" because I will never lose the nugget that keep me alert and safe. Every day gets better and easier but forgetting is not part of my plan. Have patience with me as I work hard on the triggers and memories although some might go to the afterlife with me. No one can forget the abuse they suffered and there is nothing wrong with that. Acknowledging you have the right not to forget is a huge step forward in healing. Even acknowledging it happened is a massive step forward. I can do both now, but it has taken me sixteen years to be in the place I am now; some can never do it and that is ok. We have to remember everyone heals differently, at different places and from different perspectives and that is all ok too. If you have never suffered any form of abuse, you may struggle to get this, I believe you can never understand the coercion, control and manipulation I have suffered; you have to have felt it to get it, which is an irony because I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone.
  
I am now a survivor of that time, I bear the scars of an abusive past although not visible. I am now a warrior as I strive on helping other abuse victims but I can never forget what happened to me (and nor should I have to) but now my past does not cloud my day or every move. The majority of the time I am at peace with my fate and have forgiven my abuser(s) but I can never forget.

So don't judge those that cannot forget, don't just those who still get triggered and don't judge me because I get upset sometimes as memories come flooding back. Don't judge my tears as weakness. Praise me for my strength for surviving the abuse and the resilience me and my fellow survivors have dug deep to find in order to make new lives for ourselves. Many have not survived. For many years I had to dig very deep and I know others who have had to dig deeper than me and some who are still digging. Don't judge any of them because until you have walked in our shoes, down our paths, on our journey you have no idea how it feels to live with the memories, triggers and trauma of abuse.

The best thing you can ever do is listen, empathise and believe, sometimes that is all that is needed to release the blackness that hangs over a victim or survivor of abuse. Being believed is the best gift you can ever give a victim of abuse. The justice system often doesn't. Disclosing the most traumatic episode in your life to police, agencies or a therapist and then not being believed, is abuse on top of abuse. And never stay silent, silence is the abusers best friend and by staying silent you are complicit in the abuse. Abusers use fear and abuse of power in the hope that the victim will never tell. It becomes this big dark secret and the elephant in the room. Abusers manipulate those around them into believing they are an eminent individual and no one will ever think or believe they could commit such an insidious crime. This is called The Charming Syndrome. Believe me anyone can be an abuser behind closed doors, abuse does not have to be physical and leave marks, it can be emotional, mental, financial, verbal and much more. Abuse is abuse when there is an imbalance of power; even a bully is an abuser who is abusing their power over another who they consider vulnerable.

But through it all I believe I am where I am meant to be right now and my tiny nugget can stay right where it is, buried in the base of my brain keeping me safe. Popping up every now and again to remind me to be cautious, careful, to not trust certain persons or situation, to not believe someones bullshit and to ensure that I am never abused again. It keeps me safe.

@ed2inspire
18.09.16

Friday, 19 August 2016

Educate Everyone in Body Safety & Abuse

After a conversation on Twitter early this morning, I was compelled to write yet another blog post as to why, in my humble opinion, it is necessary to educate everyone in body safety to keep all children safe. Body safety must be taught to all age groups and the whole community in order to educate everyone, not just young children. If all adults do not get it, how can we expect our children to get it and have the confidence to speak it and disclose.

My dear friend and colleague Sue Crocombe @shinybluedress keeps beating her head against a brick wall (as many of us do) endeavouring to educate that “children cannot end abuse, but adults can”. It should never be a child’s responsibility to even think that it’s their responsibility to put an end to child abuse of any description. But, in my humble opinion, it is every adult’s responsibility to do their bit to end child abuse; it is every adults business to step up to the plate and do their bit to safeguard children from any form of abuse.


It is every adults obligation to educate themselves with how the groomer grooms their prey and all those around them, that is why the victim is so often disbelieved and the groomer sucks in all those around them, whether it be parents and extended family members, head teachers and all staff, the police, judges and social workers, the community and you and your neighbours. I promise you the groomer will suck everyone in around the victim and that is generally why the victim never tells or cannot tell. I call this “the charming syndrome”.

If we continue to hide our heads in the sand, push the discomfort under the carpet, pretend it does not happen “in our neighbourhood” and refuse to voice it, we are shirking our responsibility to current and future children and somewhat complicit in the insidious crime of child abuse. If we turn a blind eye or turn our heads away we are complicit in the abuse and possible death of a child.

It has been suggested that the NSPCC “Pants” programme is enough but if we still are unable to discuss the topic openly with our children and young people; if “Pants” is as far as we go, children and young people (in some cases) will still be unsafe.  Each area of the Pants Rule needs elaborating on at every stage of a child’s age and development.

Pants are private…
  •         Do young children really understand what “private” means?
  •         Even if you think the person loves you?

 Always remember your body belongs to you…
  •         Do very young children understand this?
  •         Do groomed youngsters understand this when they are being coerced?
  •         Does the dependent victim get this when they need their substance fix?

No means no…
  •        Even if it’s your boyfriend/girlfriend?          
  •     Even if you are given gifts?
  •        Even if it’s a parent?

Talk about secrets that upset you…
  •         Lots of secrets may upset a child or young person, how do they decipher
  •         What if they are not told to keep it a secret, but hierarchy tells the victim they must       not tell?
  •         What if the grooming makes the victim feel loved and special?
  •         What if a young person is in love with the abuser?

Speak up, someone can help you…
  •         What if they do not know they are being abused, many don’t
  •         What if it’s too dangerous, shameful, degrading to tell
  •          What if they are scared and have been threatened
  •         What if they have been disbelieved previously


Obviously the lists above are not exhaustive and I am playing devil’s advocate, but we all need to play devil’s advocate; we all need to look deep inside this subject area and understand that a groomer does not have “groomer” plastered all over them. They are usually very likable individuals who are charming and abuse their power and charm to win over the victim and all those around them. They are often eminent and in positions of power and go onto to abuse their power in order to get away with their crimes. Remember a paedophile and groomer does not want to be caught.  

Therefore the “Pants Rule” is only the beginning. We have to educate, dig deep, explain, discuss, train and speak out about the patterns of behaviour a groomer will use to get to his or her prey. We have to not be afraid to use language that informs children and young people as they grow and develop. The Pants Rule is only the beginning, education must be life long, informative and at the child or young person’s age appropriate level.

There is no legal obligation for an adult to report, this is another important issue for another day. See this important blog post for further information: 



Child sex abuse and all forms of abuse are everyone’s business, everyone’s responsibility. If we as a country are really serious about changing the system then we must, I believe, use relevant qualified experts and survivors to train all agencies; survivors have journeys to share that we can learn so much from. When you have been there, you just know, you have experience and information that is invaluable. When you have experienced abuse, you have first hand knowledge of the behaviours a perpetrator uses and that information is critical in training.  

In the long run, safeguarding current and future children and young people from abuse and abusive relationships and educating them in healthy relationships must be our aim and it’s imperative we all wake up and stop pushing the comfortableness under the hearth rug.

@ed2inspire
averyenglishmrsteacup.blogspot.com 
19.08.16


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Mandatory Reporting NOW

I have just read Lawyer, Peter Garsden's article in the current edition of Nursery World entitled:

The Time for a Child Abuse Helpline is Now (8-21st August 2016, page 12)

http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/opinion/1158516/the-time-for-a-child-abuse-helpline-is-now

This article is pertinent, extremely important and timely. 

Much more could be done right now to stop children being abused.

Peter says: "Why should we sit back and wait for  the law to change when steps could be taken right now to help identify people who abuse those most precious to us?"

Currently there is no law in England for nursery practitioners to report suspected or actual abuse but there is in Ireland and many other countries around the world, namely Australia and many States in the USA who already operate a dedicated child abuse helpline.

See Mandate Now  http://mandatenow.org.uk/

Twitter: @mandatenow

Many of us dedicated campaigners have been rattling on about this for decades, I even tried to include it in my article in Nursery World on "Grooming of Children" a while back but was advised by the journalist that nursery practitioners et al had a "duty of care" to report abuse as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is statutory guidance. I have to point out that yes, it is statutory but currently there is no law or legal obligation for any practitioner to report abuse of any kind that would trigger a criminal prosecution (thankfully, just as my dear colleague, Perter Garsden points out very clearly in his article.)

http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/feature/1148181/sexual-abuse-grooming-children

On 21st July 2016 the Government launched a consultation into Mandatory Reporting, find the consultation here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reporting-and-acting-on-child-abuse-and-neglect 

Please go to the consultation and complete with your honest views and thoughts in respect of keeping all future children entirely safe (to the best of our abilities) from all forms of abuse.

Peter also advises in his article that: "Unfortunately, there is also no reason to think that paedophile rings operating in institutional settings are merely a thing of the past. Career paedophiles are organised and persistent and their actions do not happen in isolation."

Paedophiles cross every walk of life; they are not the man in the dirty mac behind the shed. They are usually charming and likeable, often known to the victim and close to the family and extended family. That is how they get away with their crimes and this is how they "groom" the victim and all those around the victim.

Familial abuse is prevalent and leads to children being taken away from families and put into institutions where they are often abused all over again. Paedophilia and paedophile rings are organised crime and lead to trafficking of children and exploitation.

Read my blog posts on: Grooming, Coercion, Gaslighting and Consent

averyenglishmrsteacup.blogspot.com

Books that will educate you:

Exploited by Emma Jackson
Violated by Sarah Wilson of Rotherham Serious Case Review
Girl for Sale by Lara McDonnell
You Can’t have My Daughter by Elizabeth McDonnell
I Never Gave my Consent by Holly Archer

Watch my talk here: https://vimeo.com/176197138

N.B. Peter Garsden is a partner at Simpson Miller Solicitors and 
President of The Association of Child Abuse Lawyers

09.08.16
@ed2inspire

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Abused all over again

Update: It has come to my attention, through reliable sources, that the Leader of the Pack and her Stooges also publicly abused, bullied and trolled an eminent lawyer, social worker and a high profile organisation during the same public rant, tantrum and beration of me as a professional and my good work. Those of us who quietly work to make the world a better place for victims and survivors of abuse do so voluntarily and without remuneration. Our services are given free to each charity we work for and we are freelance and have no formal ties or allegiance to any group/charity we offer our expertise to in order to raise awareness of these insidious crimes. 11.12.16

Yesterday, 23rd July 2016, I attended a small conference in my home-town as an inspirational speaker along with five other professionals from government, police and local council together with two survivors of historical child sexual abuse and exploitation, we all spoke during the conference.

As a professional and specialist in safeguarding, child protection and sexual exploitation I was asked to speak on The Abuse of Power in all Areas of Abuse and Exploitation. I carried this project out with the blessing of one of the local training companies I work with, in order to raise awareness of how coercion, control, gaslighting, grooming, exploitation and consent which dominate and appear in all areas of abuse and all contribute to an abuse of power.

I am a freelance self-employed education consultant and training facilitator working for numerous clients across the county, country and internationally and I have no superiority or allegiance to any one of the organisations over another that I carry out work for. I am not beholden to any organisation or individual over another and whoever I do work for, I always do it to the best of my ability and with the professionalism you would obviously expect. The work I do is always for causes close to my heart and delivered in good faith to raise awareness of abusive behaviours in relationships and help individuals and organisations understand the deep rooted insidious crimes committed by abusers, bullies, perpetrators and sexual predators in all areas of abuse, not just sexual abuse.

When I use my knowledge, experience and my own story of abuse to educate an audience, the room is always transfixed, interested and mesmerised. There was nothing different yesterday; my talk went very well and there was an audible hush in the auditorium as I spoke of my own abuse like I was talking about a stranger. The audience were right there with me and as always I had an excellent response and my message was definitely listened to and heard. I got my message across loud and clear, individuals understood the dramatic effect of abuse on lives well into the future.

I should not have to return home after a days work (helping survivors) to find a barrage of abuse and disgusting accusations and language on my Twitter timeline and social media. Survivors of abuse should not be abusing other survivors, especially ones that are doing good to raise awareness. The organisers of yesterday's conference have no connection to me on a personal level and I have no professional allegiance to this particular CIC or any other. This exercise was purely professional, as always. I do not work any other way. I should not have to justify who, where and what I do in my professional life as a freelance consultant to anyone, least of all a bunch of individuals who were supposed colleagues on my Twitter feed who, just because "they" have no respect for this particular organisation, feel I should  boycott the organisation. The answer is a big fat "no". I have been abused and bullied most of my life and no one will ever treat me this way again. So "no" I will not boycott anyone who is doing a good job supporting and assisting survivors of any form of abuse, be it sexual, physical, neglect, discrimination or domestic abuse or violence.

These disgusting individuals proceeded to abuse and bully other innocent speakers who they did not know or know their professional positions in the country and who did not deserve to have aggressive, rude and bullying Tweets rampage over his/her Twitter feeds. Remember, everyone is struggling with something.

Online bullies and abusers are cowards and vile. They hide behind an anonymous platform/icon which they feel protects them and gives them the right to slag off those they do not agree with. I have written about trolls and bullies before on this blog. But, you know what, the most insidious part of this abuse directed at me yesterday, is that these individuals were supposed colleagues and friends (one had been a Director of my own charity) who just didn't agree with me accepting an invitation to speak my stuff at this particular conference because they had fallen out with the organisers several months ago. Not my problem. I spoke to help the cause; I spoke to raise awareness in my local area. I spoke to work with the professionals, and as one of the professionals attending to get my message out there. I spoke out for the right reasons and I will do it again and again. I have always said that. I speak about abuse and will do till my last breath. I know what it feels like to be abused.

Just like abuse and abusers are in all corners of the globe, abusers and abuse don't discriminate, they cover every age, gender, colour, social standing - and these particular individuals should know better. I have done nothing wrong. I accepted an invitation just like the other professionals to speak out about these insidious crimes - CSA & CSE, domestic abuse and violence. I do not pick and chose who, where and when I speak. I do not discriminate, judge, make assumptions or stereotype. If it is right to speak out I will do so, I will be there with my voice, my own story, my knowledge, experience and expertise and my sad and difficult case studies. I have a lot to offer to help this cause and I will continue to speak about it. Will you?

I loathe bullies and abusers. I am a survivor of 20 years abuse and have been coerced, controlled, groomed, gas lit, punched, bullied and manipulated - but never again. You will never control or intimidate me ever again. I am my own person and I am confident and strong and will always do the right thing. I have decent morals and ethics and will not be drawn into vile behaviours. So you online bullies can stay exactly where you are blocked from all my social media platforms and go bother someone else. 



Each of you know who you are and you should hang your heads in shame - friends, no - colleagues, no - and never again. I am done with you and your controlling intimidating behaviours, I have put up with it for too long. It may work on others, but not on me. Survivor on survivor abuse is unacceptable, odious and repulsive. Practice what you preach and stop criticising others when they are doing good. You have done this for too long. Take the stone out of your own eye before you poke some else in the eye. 

I have betrayed no one and I am no traitor (your vile language). I am beholden to no one in this life. I am my own person with my own mind and I make my own decisions based on my own ethics and values.

Never blow out someone else's candle to make yours glow brighter.

I am an inspirational speaker, campaigner and ambassador to help end violence and abuse against women and girls (and boys/men).

If you would like me to speak at a workshop or conference please just ask or get in touch via twitter @ed2inspire or email elainehook@hotmail.com

24.07.16 (updated 11.12.16 and 31.12.16)

Friday, 13 May 2016

Sexual & Abusive Predators - Disqualification by Association

What does it mean?

Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 - Updated February 2015

The arrangements set out in the guidance are additional to the arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children set out in Keeping Children safe in Education (KCSIE), the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and in Working Together to Safeguard Children.

The Childcare Disqualifications Regulations 2009

Disqualification Criteria
Section 2 / Point e :

The criteria for disqualification under the 2006 Act and 2009 Regulations include those set out in the list below:

e.         living in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or is employed (disqualification ‘by association’) as specified in regulation 9 of the 2009 Regulations

See link below for full government document and guidance:

Statutory guidance is issued by law; you must follow it unless there’s a good reason not to. 

See link below for further details:

Please also see:

Debbie Alcock’s Article here:
Stopping Disqualification by Association is Madness

Please also see her book here: http//neytco.co.uk/shop/barred

And I totally agree with Debbie.

Stopping Disqualification by Association is not just madness, it is absolutely foolhardy and irresponsible by all individuals and agencies involved with safeguarding children.

But I wish to take this further based on my safeguarding, child protection and exploitation work:

Sexual and abusive predators are extremely manipulative individuals. They will seek out their prey and spend days, months and sometimes years grooming their victim as well as family and friends surrounding their victim. Often victims do not even understand or recognise that they are, or have been groomed; until they are sucked in so deep it is impossible to get out.

By the time they realise what has been, and is, happening they will be living with so much fear that some will never be able to tell or disclose the abuse they are suffering. Perpetrators will use grooming; gaslighting, coercion and control to convince their victim that everything is tickety boo. Perpetrators use lies, fear, threats and gaslighting to ensure their victims keep their secrets.

Secrecy, silence, lies, fear and “no one will believe you if you tell” are a perpetrators “best friend”.  In fact they are the “best friend” of any abusive perpetrator. That is what they depend on. That is why they spend months and years grooming everyone. Love bombing and gifts help to keep the victim quiet and loyal to their groomer and perpetrator. A victim of any abuse but especially sexual, will find it almost impossible to cut loose from their predator. Remember many victims will be reliant on their predator.

Consequently, some victims will cover up for their abuser due to fear, threats or even physical violence. Some victims will not even know or realise they are living with a perpetrator or abuser. Some victims may not have been told that they live with a registered sex offender. The sex offender is a good liar, remember.

I worked on several such cases when I was a nursery manager. One victim had no idea until her house was raided and he had moved on to his next victim and a five year old disclosed at school. Another victim lived with so much abuse and fear she didn’t even realise she needed to disclose. Another case I worked on was where the perpetrator had been married three times, each time seeking out a younger partner with younger children. You see very young children are often unable to disclose in language only behaviour. Sadly, throughout my long career of over 30 years in education, I have worked in some very challenging settings and on some very sad and difficult cases within child protection and safeguarding.

So “Stopping Disqualification by Association” is actually more than madness if we are hell bent on safeguarding children. If we are serious about safeguarding children from sexual predators and abuse Disqualification by Association should actually be increased not reduced or stopped. Signing a declaration will not stop these narcisstic, sociopathic, psychopaths from seeking out vulnerable individuals whom they can groom, but it goes some way to helping. It also means that if there is to be a case heard in law and an individual has lied on their declaration there is a case to be heard.

Remember: the statutory guidance is issued by law; and you must follow it unless there is good reason not to.

In my professional opinion you would need “a very good” reason not to want an individual to declare in a written statement to your childcare organisation or school that they live with a registered sex offender.

And as a mother I would want to know that my child was safe is any childcare setting and that the staff had done everything possible to ensure my child was safe. I would also want to know that if an applicant or member of staff was living with a registered sex offender that those staff had followed the law in asking for a declaration. Predators will do anything possible to get to a child. Partners of predators may even gather the information for the sex offender. We must never forget the Vanessa George case and serious case review. Vanessa George worked in a nursery and took photographs of babies and young children and forwarded them to pedophile/s and a pedophile ring. Vanessa George, if you like, was the perpetrators stooge. She was gathering the information for the predator/s. There are victims out there, who through fear, will also gather information and photographs for predators.

Those that are not registered sex offenders are out there and are slipping through the net as I write this and child abuse of every description is happening in every street, it could be happening right now next door to you. So, in order to protect our children to the very best of our ability we need to speak up and out about this insidious crime and not be afraid to tackle it head on. If we do not shout about it with the confidence of professionals with a “duty of care” to safeguard children then I believe we are complicit in covering up for these devious individuals who have no conscience.

Please view my LinkedIn Profile for verification of my background and work here: 

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/elainehook 

You can find the government consultation here: 

https://consult.education.gov.uk/school-employment-division/childcare-disqualification-arrangements

The consultation closes on 1st July 2016 be sure to complete before the closing date.

13.05.16
@ed2inspire

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Children Witnessing Domestic Abuse

"My daddy was special when I was little. He was kind and took me to school and the park. He played with me and bought me presents. With mummy we spent happy days together. We all went on Easter egg hunts and put the tree up together at Christmas. I remember having special birthday parties with mummy and daddy and all my friends. Mummy always made my birthday cakes in my favourite cartoon characters. My daddy worked hard and mummy looked after me. I swam and went to after school clubs like ballet which I loved. But something changed when I was about 7 years old. My daddy lost his job and then he became mean to mummy. They were always arguing. He shouted a lot at mummy and me. He didn't spend much time with us anymore. Nothing was the same. Mummy became very sad and she cried most of the time. We didn't do anything together as a family anymore or go out very much. Mummy slept a lot and didn't look like my mummy anymore. She was always tired, grumpy and sad. I was scared. I thought I had done something wrong and I asked mummy if I made her sad. She said "no" but I didn't believe her. I asked her if I made daddy mad, she again said "no". I became sad too and spent a lot of time alone and in my room. I didn't understand why things had changed. One day daddy hit mummy and she hid in the wardrobe. I was so scared because I couldn't find her. I thought I had lost her and wondered who would take care of me. I didn't want to stay with daddy cause he was always shouting and cross. He scared me. When I eventually found mummy she was sobbing so hard and I cuddled and cuddled her to make her feel better. I just wanted it all to stop and mummy to be happy again. One day mummy said we were leaving. She said we had to go quickly and quietly and not tell anyone. I was scared again. I didn't want to leave my toys but I also didn't want mummy to leave me behind. I never saw my home or toys again for many years. I didn't spend much time with my daddy after that. My daddy continued to shout at my mummy down the phone and mummy still cried a lot. Even though we had left it didn't stop. Mummy began to be a little better and not so sad. I remember it took along time for things to get better and I will never forget how it all made me feel."

Children who suffer and witness domestic abuse suffer too, often, just like the victim, for a lifetime. The memories do not go away. The loss does not go away. It's just like a bereavement and the healing process is the same. It takes time, support and understanding. It may take many hours and months of effective counselling. Children who witness or suffer any form of abuse, suffer trauma and the after effects for life. Trauma changes the wiring of the brain and we learn protective behaviours which are not always healthy. Young children's brains are malleable and consequently trauma has a huge impact on their future and life experiences and how they view the world and those living in it. Witnessing domestic abuse and/or violence changes how we interact with others and intimate relationships. Suffering any form of abuse has the same effect. 

Suffering abuse and trauma of any kind between the ages of 0-6 is particularly dangerous as very young children cannot verbalise threatening or dangerous events or incidents like an adult would be able to. Any event that threatens a young child's safety or their parents safety can cause early childhood trauma which can and will have an effect on them as an adult. Physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters, accidents, war, loss of a parent and/or painful or severe medical procedures will, in most cases, cause early childhood trauma.

Research has shown us that it is essential for children to have a reliable, positive, caring and protective caregiver around them. A consistent protective caregiver is an essential 
resource for children and young people to feel safe. It is imperative that they encourage communication about the child or young persons experience and reassurance that the adults in their life are consistently working to keep them safe.

Tips:
1. Get moving - exercise can help
2. Do not isolate - surround yourself with positive empathetic individuals
3. Self regulate - mindful breathing, stay grounded and feel
4. Take care of your health - get plenty of sleep and eat well

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm

Support is the crucial factor after trauma. Be patient, understanding and offer practical help where you can. Role model positive behaviour and assure the child or young person it is normal to feel scared, sad and upset. Do not pressurise anyone into talking or telling their story; let them talk when and if they wish to. Do nice things together, find relaxing hobbies or just eat cake and have a cuppa tea together, at home or out and about. We all react to traumatic situations and incidents differently so remember, there is no "one size fits all". Have empathy, compassion and do not judge or stereotype. Just be there. Just be there.

14.04.16


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Letting You Go

For 2920 days I loved you.Every single moment of every single day for 2920 days I loved you with all my heart. I stood by you when times were tough and even unbearable. I gave to you unconditionally emotionally and physically. I stood by you even when I had nothing and knew I should stop but I still supported you and I stayed. From the very beginning I forgave you, believed in you and embraced everything about you, even when friends and family did not. I believed I saw something in you that no one else saw, how wrong I was. It was me that knew you the best, right? Stupidly, I gave you a second chance and then a third and fourth and more. I trusted you and thought you would never lie to me again. I trusted that you meant all the promises you made. How wrong I was? 

I gave you everything I had, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I gave you so much it broke me, physically and emotionally. I thought if I walked away I would once again have nothing and nobody except a broken heart and eight wasted years. I believed I had no other choice but to stay. I made excuses for you and your behaviour to family and friends. I was too understanding - caving, bending and breaking every moment of 2920 days to suit your needs. I just wanted to make you happy to the detriment of making me happy. I dismissed every red flag, deal breaker and compromised my standards in order to make you happy. I thought you would change one day and fucking love me as much as I loved you. But you didn't. I wanted you to fucking choose me first, like I did you. I wanted you to think I was worth it. I wanted you to care for me the way I cared for you. But you didn't. Your never did because you couldn't.

In loving you, I stopped loving me. I stopped doing the things that I loved and being with the people I loved. Loving you was all consuming. Overpowering. Unhealthy. Loving was hard work and you took every ounce of my emotions and energy; thought processes and being. In doing this I lost myself. I didn't know how to be me anymore. I didn't even recognise me. You need to know I stayed and I continued to love you but I stayed for far too long. So long that I was broken. So long I couldn't function. So much wasted time on you. I ignored family and friends advice and I stayed way too long. In staying and loving you I forgot how to love and choose myself. I stopped loving me and taking care of me. I hadn't spent money on me, totally me for eight long years. I was too busy caring for you. I was convinced I deserved you. I believed all the pain was worthwhile because one day you would love me like I loved you.

But that day I asked you to leave was the best day. I deleted and destroyed everything that was you. All the memories (good and bad) had to go in order for me to successfully choose me. In order for me to look after me, your ghost had to go. In order for me to be me again, you had to be eradicated. This was the only way. Every moment that I don't choose you, I get stronger, happier, wiser, more fulfilled. The day you left was the best choice I made for a very long time. That day, one day, will be a distant memory and one day I will find someone to love me that way I deserve to be loved. But for now, for the moment, choosing to eradicated you makes me strong, happy and wise and the me I deserve to be.

03.04.16

Inspired by the amazing article by Linda Greyman on The Minds Journal http://themindsjournal.com/the-day-i-stopped-choosing-you/

Thursday, 31 March 2016

What is Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (PTRS) ?

In the past I have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a near fatal car accident (that wasn't my fault, I have to add) in Scotland and where the authorities and my ex-husband set me up (another story, or blog, one day). I suffered nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, panic attacks and palpitations, to name a few of my symptoms. It was horrendous, hard to live with, hard to explain to others and hard to be understood which impacted the PTSD further. Its a disorder you cannot see; I had no broken limbs just a broken heart and mind, but I was not mentally ill, in the context of "understood" mental illness, which again further impacted the PTSD. I knew what PTSD felt like for me.

In the past twenty years I have suffered two abusive failed marriages from two psychopathic narcissistic men and this has caused trauma which caused me to relive some of the feelings and symptoms that I had previously linked to PTSD. BUT this time I knew that the symptoms and feelings I was suffering were very different. Once again it was so incredibly difficult to explain to an outsider who had never suffered a similar disorder. One of the main differences this time was "that I couldn't trust anyone, especially men". Another difference was, I only suffered the depression, nightmares but had numerous triggers. The triggers, where times, places, smells, pictures, songs and many items brought back memories that spiraled me down hill. I had to cleanse my life of the memories and triggers and destroy anything that reminded me of either abuser. I had to de-clutter my home and mind.

The main problem and stress was the "mistrust" of the male race (and some females). If any gender seemed too good to be true I became incredibly cynical. I had made up my mind that if a male partner could lie and live a lie for over twenty years (first husband) and ten years (second) how could anything else be true and real. I also began to realise that my whole life had basically been one big fat lie. I had had what I would term as a very happy childhood but my sister's recollection of our childhood and parents was the polar opposite. This made me realise and understand why I was so easily coerced, groomed and gas-lit by my ex-husbands. My truth seemed to have been based on fiction; I thought what everyone said and did was gospel, but I was sadly mistaken. No one had ever explained to me as a child that some adults lie or live double lives. I had believed everyone was honest and see otherwise was a real eyeopener and confusing.


So just this past week, after years of deliberation and wondering, I began to research "why I cannot trust". I read numerous articles and digested pages of information for hours and days and none of it resonated with me until I found several sites discussing Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (PTRS). This is me. This is how I feel and see the world. PTRS affects individuals who have been traumatized by physical, sexual, and/or severe emotional abuse within intimate relationships. In PTSD, there is over utilization of avoidant coping, but PTRS involves the overuse of emotion-focused coping. An intimate relationship can mean partner, husband, wife, daughter, son, friend, colleague, any family member, stranger and/or perpetrator of abuse. PTRS means you must be, or have been in, an intense emotional relationship with your abuser and have actually experienced the abuse, whatever form the abuse takes.

Some signs:
Hypervigilence
Insomnia/sleep disturbance/nightmares/recollections/flashbacks
Restlessness/uncontrollable shaking/difficulty concentrating
Anger/rage at the perpetrator
Not feeling safe in the world
Mistrust in intimate relationships/sexual dysfunction
Weight loss
Isolation

With PTRS personality remains in tact and does not include the development of a character disorder or the array of symptoms which characterise PTSD or cPTSD, i.e. dissociation disorder. PTRS develops because of the extreme trauma and would not have occurred if the individual had not suffered the trauma. An individuals image of the events are inscribed in our memories and because of the vividness the memory frequently returns to our consciousness and evokes the same emotions as the original trauma which are known as triggers. Acute trauma that is not integrated into our belief systems or world create a state of psychological crisis. In my case, this has created an acute mistrust of men, males and in fact anyone who seems to "trigger" those same feelings created during my past intimate relationships. 

PTRS, as with other post traumatic illnesses, is a world filled with terror and this causes psychobiological changes. This is two fold, one is we believe our world not to be safe or secure and two, our knowledge about our self and the world around us makes no sense anymore. What we once knew and believed is is not true anymore. This breakdown impairs the ability of those suffering PTRS to maintain psychophysiological stability, i.e. mind, body and feelings are basically at odds with one another. The world in particular areas of severe trauma makes no sense anymore and one cannot trust gut or instinct. A new paradigm has to be found and integrated with self and the world and this is a huge challenge and risk.

Finding the internet site (shown below) and reading this research helped me to understand myself better and why, I originally trusted far too easily and too much and why now I cannot trust at all. It has helped me to understand why me (and many others) are an easy target for coercion, control, grooming and gaslighting. My mind and thought processes are never devious or underhand so I have trouble understanding others may be devious or have a hidden agenda. Trusting someone, especially a man intimately, is so scary for me that I cannot ever envisage doing this ever again. Trusting a man and embarking in an intimate relationship almost sends me into a panic attack and certainly triggers me. My brain says it is irrational but my heart and gut says otherwise. I know it is not the right attitude but I cannot, nor do I want, to change it. This is my safe space. I definitely do not trust my gut or instinct; both have been so wrong in the past so what, in Gods name, makes me think they will be any better now or in the future. So it is safer to just not go to that place. If I have been so far off all my life, shifting my paradigm is a massive challenge for the remaining years I am on this earth.


Further reading and information:
http://theneurotypical.com/posttraumatic_relationship_syndrome.html

I hope this has helped some of you reading this to understand the lifelong implications of severe physical, sexual or emotional trauma on the mind, body and soul. In many cases it is a lifelong sentence.

References: theneurotypical.com / wikipedia.com

31.03.16