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2022 Seminar

MCF Summer Seminar 2022: The voice of lived experience being heard in a way that does no further harm: 20th July 2022

Our 2022 Summer Seminar focussed on the voice of lived experience and, more specifically, how to hear and elevate those voices in the right way. The event gave us the opportunity to launch two new resources, created by our Lived Experience Group, which provide guidance for both organisations working alongside victims and survivors of CSA who are sharing their experiences publicly, and for victims and survivors themselves. 

*The full seminar was not filmed in order to maintain the anonymity of those participants with lived experience.

During the process of writing the guidance resources, members of the group shared their experiences of speaking out, whether that is talking at an event, doing media interviews or providing case studies. They have all had good and bad experiences doing this work, and they care passionately about helping everybody to get it right and ensure that victims and survivors are properly supported in doing this work going forward.

Our CEO, Vicki Green, opened the seminar by sharing MCF’s vision that all victims and survivors are supported on their recovery journey and empowered to share their experiences in a way that does no further harm. She highlighted the importance of not only hearing what victims and survivors have to say, but acting on it, as this is the only way we will be able to develop services that truly meet the needs of victims.

Our Victim and Survivor Advocate, Rhiannon-Faye McDonald, then spoke about her own journey of sharing her experiences and how she feels fortunate that she has had the support, protection and encouragement of the MCF team from the start, and that she wishes all victims and survivors benefitted from the same. She then talked about the process of forming the focus group with members of the Lived Experience Group, the support put in place to promote a safe environment and the lessons we learned along the way.

Rhiannon then facilitated a discussion with members of the Lived Experience Group their involvement in the creation of the guidance resources, why they are so important and why they should inform your practice. They each shared some of their own personal experiences of good and bad practice in this area to emphasize why it is so vital that we do this in the right way with the appropriate support put in place. 

Some of the key messages that came from this discussion were:

“By talking and encouraging people to talk, hopefully someone will talk earlier, rather than having years of feeling silenced and shamed. It makes me realise I am not the only one. The pressure to keep quiet was toxic.”

“Never ever be scared to intervene, you could be saving someone’s life. Do no more harm. Don’t hurt them anymore they have suffered enough, you have a duty of care.”

“The silence and stigma behind abuse allows it to continue, being given a forum to speak can help reduce that over time.”

“It is important to be able to talk things through, to be listened to and be respected. It is important that we respect each other too.”

“Be careful of the language we use, it can trigger responses from a victim/survivor.”

“The correct support must be in place. As a victim/survivor you can be so desperate to help but don’t always think of caring for yourself. So you open yourself up and can be left with your pain opened up. Sessions end with nothing else in place, you can’t just pack it up.”

Access the resources below.

It is important to us that we are developing resources that are useful and needed. We would be grateful if you could help us to evaluate the resources by clicking here.

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