Helping yesterday's children be parents today

Children 1st local manager Johnny Costello explains how we’re making a difference for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and their families, in Scottish Borders.

“Working with you has been a benefit. I have been able to make sense of things. I have learned to take control of difficult situations. More than anything I have learned how to talk and stay safe. I can trust you with things I have told you. I am not judged.’’

These words, from an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, capture the difference being supported by our team in the Borders can make. What happened to Andy* as a child has had a devastating impact. He has been diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder. His experiences in childhood also affected his ability to be the dad his son needs.

We see Andy once a fortnight. He’s attends these meetings without fail, and says our time together is helping him more than any psychiatric or psychological sessions ever did. We talk, and use techniques such a bad memory container which Andy’s created to aid his recovery. There’s been great progress. Andy’s not attempted suicide for many months.  His son is no longer on the child protection register, and is now doing really well at school. Andy’s also started volunteering at the school, which he loves.

Children 1st’s support for adult survivors of abuse in Scottish Borders might seem anomalous for a children’s charity. But, as Andy’s story shows it’s a perfect fit, as many adult survivors are parents and carers too. We’re proud to facilitate Survivors Unite, a peer support group of survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Borders. We’re also helping them to develop and increase their autonomy, including some group members becoming trained as peer supporters.

And of course, we also support children in Scottish Borders to recover from abuse, working closely with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.


* Names and some details have been changed