Thursday, 31 July 2014

Child Sexual Exploitation work in the North of the UK by the Seaside

Emerging from the Victorian town amongst a light breeze, sunshine and clear blue sky, we suddenly dropped sharply down, carefully excavating hair pin bends until we reached the once pirate infested fishing village. The sapphire ocean ebbed and waned quietly and serenely across the perfect golden sands, around the awesome and dramatic bay swung way out to a rugged breath taking peninsular. I gasped with delight. Seagulls squawked as they circled above gaudy striped wind breakers and deck chairs laden with sun soakers while children with brightly coloured buckets and spades were emphatically digging moats and building sand castles. It was a scene of sheer beauty and personified the stereotypical English seaside postcard. My tummy fluttered with childhood memories.

The promenade and pier were alive with locals and visitors enjoying the rays and wares of this beautiful coastline. Jolly round rotund shirtless men and boys chattered and debated fishing equipment and surf wear. Strappy topped mothers and children perused flip flops, sunhats and beach balls. Some ate cones with flakes, others fish and chips. Some enjoyed a beer in the pub garden, others a cola at the Surfs Up CafĂ©.
As I devoured my toastie perched on the promenade I watched this English street parade with glee. Dogs on and off leads scurried in and out of legs with as much excitement as the little children; they were all glad to be at the beach on this beautiful English summers day. There was a hubbub of chatter and laughter. Traditional old English carousel music gave a back drop to the scene while the continuous squeak of the quaint Victorian cable car transported families twenty yards up the sheer cliff face to the town centre. Ye Olde Sweet Shop was abuzz with children deciding whether they wanted to savor lemon bonbons, cola drops or fluorescent sticks of rock from large glass jars, lined up like soldiers on parade on all four walls of this little brightly painted beach hut.

The promenade was alive with the smell of vinegar, strawberry sauce, the ocean and sweat. I loved every single minute of this wonderful sensory experience. My brain was alert with childhood memories and cravings. My camera was on overload as I ventured out onto the pier and felt the sea breeze brush my face and whizz through my hair. What a good feeling that was. The simple wrought iron girders were decorated with funky and topical knitted samplers made by anonymous crafters who attached them to the girders in the depth of the night. Everyone was in awe and no one knew how they got there which made them all the more wonderful. Cameras flashed, visitors giggled at the quirky array and their was much chatter about this secret sect that only came out at night.
The horizon was crystal clear and crammed with tankers and ships delivering goods in and out of the port just along the coastline. It was a breath taking sight below a clear cobalt sky. Not a cloud was in sight. I turned and looked back at the promenade and it was like viewing a water colour painting in a gallery by a celebrated artist. I stood still for many minutes just taking in this unexpected landscape, breathing the sea air and watching the sheer simple enjoyment of being at the beach.

You see I had come to this haven for three days (after a long five hour drive) to facilitate workshops with young adult victims and survivors of child abuse and exploitation. I had no idea I would be faced with such a beautiful canvas amongst my important work. What an amazing juxtaposition I was in the middle of. The workshops were powerful and a great success; the young people were phenomenal and my hosts were amazing. What a privilege on all accounts and levels to deliver this important work just outside this beautiful picture postcard harbour and coastline with my fabulous partner in crime. We had no idea we would be able to relax in such a beautiful haven.

I know we made a fantastic duo, we definitely made a difference and left behind tips, knowledge and a way forward for the fab young people we worked with. We will definitely be back to continue our good work very soon.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Child lapping like a dog in my Classroom

This little three-year-old boy attended the nursery I was managing and was seen by a nursery nurse to be kneeling on the floor and “lapping” like a dog from one of the children's toilets. In order to be able to witness, record and report this incident I needed to witness this for myself. I asked the staff to let me know when they saw this happening again and to come and get me straight away. A little later on the little boy was seen to be "lapping" from the toilet again. I hurried to the children's bathrooms and to my horror saw with my very eyes this dear little boy with his head down the toilet drinking the water.

I stooped beside him and asked "what are you doing" he replied “having a drink”. When I asked him why he was drinking from the toilet he replied: “this is what we do at home”. I was actually dumbstruck, sad and speechless. I told him he could always ask for a drink from a member of staff in the nursery and that at nursery he didn't need to drink from the toilet ever again. From now on this little mite was reassured that it was safe to ask for a drink when at the nursery. 

After much discussion and meetings with mum and a variety of agencies, it materialised that this little boy's mother was a single parent, cocaine user and alcoholic and at home she strapped this little boy and his brother into high chairs in a spare room during the into day in order that she could sleep off her substance abuse habit. At night she tied both boys down in their cots so they did not disturb her social life and she could happily partake in her cocaine and alcohol habits.

we learnt she refused them drinks so that she did not have to change their nappies. The eldest boy who attended my nursery was so thirsty each day but was terrified to ask for a drink for fear of being reprimanded and that is why he drank from the toilet secretly in order to quench his thirst. At home, they had to sneak drinks and could often only get water by drinking from the toilet.

A written referral was made to social care and the assessment and intervention team was informed and a child protection procedure began. with a Team Around the Child meeting (TAC) called as a matter of urgency. The children were put on a multiagency Child Protection Plan which involved the nursery manager, health visitor, children's centre manager, general practitioner, police and social worker. Regular Child in Need (CIN) meetings was called and sadly for their health, wellbeing and safety, these two little boys were taken into long-term foster care and eventually adopted away from the area. 

Their mother was offered long-term mental health, substance abuse and parenting support.

Coercive Control - "Letter of Apology" from an Abuser & Psychopath - Domestic Abuse


Hello Angel

I cant even begin to imagine how disappointed you must be with my selfish behaviour and unreasonable acts. I am dead ashamed of myself. I couldn't believe my selfish and unreasonable acts and all I said last night. I lay in bed and asked myself "what was that I just did". There was no answer other than me being a selfish fool and a greedy idiot.

I am deeply sorry about my behaviour, my everything last night. I wasn't thinking straight. I realize I was being unkind and unreasonable to the one person who has done so much for me and my life, not just financially, but who has also turned my life around to be a better man. Am so disheartened about my acts and I just want you to find a place in your heart to forgive me.

I have transferred an extra £50.00 into your account and kindly, please, do not transfer it back to me. You deserve every penny of mine. Please, I am so so sorry.

Its a bad bit of me that behaves so unreasonably when it comes to money matters; I know I need help with that and mostly with my anger management. Kindly forgive me and help me to manage my anger and seek help for this dirty behaviour. Am so ashamed of myself.

Angel please forgive me.

I love you and am sorry for not treating you as the Angel you are.


Because I wanted the house to be at peace, I forgave him once again!