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Working with vulnerable women

02 March 2024
Volume 32 · Issue 3


Sharon Belshaw explores a charity's work to support those who have experienced childhood sexual trauma, and how abuse trauma may affect women's experiences of pregnancy

Break the Silence is a charity based in Ayrshire, Scotland who have been providing support for people affected by childhood sexual trauma since 2004.

The charity provides counselling for people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and rape, which is a much needed service. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (2021), 1 in 20 children will have experienced sexual abuse and the World Health Organization (2021) reports that globally, an estimated 30% of ‘women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime’. In addition to abuse, there are often people who have been re-victimised in their adult lives (Coid et al, 2021).

Re-victimisation can take the form of physical abuse, coercive control or sexual abuse, to name a few. The shame that the charity's clients carry is something that they live with each day. Many experience a sense of self-blame and, when they are raped as adults or subjected to physical assault, they often tell us that they feel they are still to blame. Many relationships are impacted by their trauma and some people lack a safe and stable person who can offer the support and connection needed.

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