Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Acts Fast was formed in 2014, providing specialist support to parents and carers of children, who have been sexually abused, to fill a much needed gap, as there were no specialist services in Bournemouth, Poole or Dorset that supported parents/carers, of children that have been sexually abused. Finding out your child has been sexually abused is a very traumatic and life changing experience for a parent or carer and also impacts on the wider family. The parent has to continue to support their abused child whilst dealing with the many statutory agencies that are involved in the incident including the police and their investigation. This is very overwhelming and isolating; parents and carers may seek support for depression, sleeplessness or other mental health issues from their GP however the deeper feelings of guilt, anger, frustration and self-doubt of being a capable parent tend to be unaddressed and can potentially cause a breakdown in their relationship with their abused child and close family and friends, creating a loss in a supportive structure for both the abused child and parent.

There is evidence that if an abused child is being cared for in a supportive and loving environment that they have a significantly higher chance of recovering from the trauma of being sexually abused and go on to lead a healthy and happy future.
According to Child Trauma expert, Kate Cairns:
“To recover from traumatic stress, the sufferer needs to be in a safe environment, to be part of a secure and accepting social network, and to have the inner and outer resources to manage the psychological and biological reactions of stress and to process and come to terms with the horrifying experience” (pg 37, Circles of Harm – Surviving Paedophilia Kate Cairns)

Acts Fast aims to address the health inequality of the lack of specialist support for the parent’s and carers of abused children by providing a dedicated service, including phone/email support as well as drop ins run at locations in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset.
We provide a safe, non-judgmental, confidential environment where parents and carers can seek guidance, reassurance, practical help and information. Phone calls and drop Ins also provide the opportunity for parents and carers to openly discuss how they are coping, as well as being a suitable place to talk about their feelings which can be anything from confusion to isolation, from rage to desperation. Physiological education is provided to the parents on how the trauma is affecting both themselves and their child, coping and grounding strategies are provided to help their everyday life. We provide education to the parent on the grooming process in helping the parent overcome their shame and guilt, if the perpetrator was a close and trusted family member or friend, the training helps them integrate back into society rather than their fear disabling them to re-engage in society for fear of meeting another person that may harm their family.
The project will be able to extend support to an additional 20 parents/ families over the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset area, enabling them to benefit from the much needed support. With already an extended network and collaboration, working with other agencies and organisations, leaflets and emails, will be distributed to advise further capacity to help more parents within Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset. We will ask for evaluations from the parents to ask of how they would like further support to look like, and form any new projects on their recommendations, and needs, this very application has come from a parents evaluation: "I desperately needed to speak to someone who would understand what I was going through and to hear of Acts Fast was like a lifeline for me. Mandy was able to understand the roller-coaster of emotions I was on and helped me understand that I was not alone and she would be there to help me through in any way she could"

Acts Fast

Moment of Pride

To be able to reach & support more parents suffering alone, from what is described 'as bomb going off' gives us immense pride. To be there for the parents not only helps their health & well- being but also that of their child's. It equally gives us hope that we are helping our future generations.

Location: Dorset, United Kingdom