'I Will Be Heard' - engaging diverse communities in the Truth Project

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Photo by DFID CC BY 2.0
11 April, 2018
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse recently met with Bristol’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community leaders to raise awareness of the Truth Project. Voscur representatives from BME Voice and Influence and the Bristol Sexual Violence Support Consortium attended.
Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse spoke at the event last week, as well as the Head of Inquiry Office for the South West, David Poole.
Sabah Kaiser, who grew up in the Pakistani community in Bristol, was sexually abused as a child. She spoke about her experience of participating in the Truth Project and how it can benefit victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.
The Truth Project is an opportunity for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience with the Inquiry during a confidential session. Participants can give as much or as little detail about what happened as they would like and they are not questioned or cross-examined. There are no legal consequence of attending a Truth Project session and victims and survivors are offered emotional and psychological support before, during and after their session.
The Inquiry holds regular sessions all over the country, including Bristol, Exeter, London and Cardiff. There are temporary Truth Projects set up in towns and cities across England and Wales, wherever there is a demand.
Victims and survivors in Bristol may have recently seen or listened to adverts promoting the Truth Project. The Inquiry launched its nationwide ‘I will be heard’ awareness campaign at the start of the year in order to publicise the Truth Project as widely as possible.
Michael May, the head of the London and South East Inquiry Office, said: “Engaging with all communities is a hugely important part of our work. The Truth Project gives victims and survivors the opportunity to be heard, recognised and respected - and they can also make recommendations for change. Unless we hear from victims and survivors from all communities - including those from BAME backgrounds - this Inquiry will not be able to fulfil its remit.”
Sabah Kaiser, a survivor of child sexual abuse said: “I feel that what happened to me is happening and has happened to many Pakistani girls and women. The public needs to know about what is happening and about the cover-up that often follows disclosure - particularly in some ethnic minority communities.
“Authorities have been failing CSE survivors for decades, lessons are not being learnt and I fear lessons will not be learned until victims and survivors from all backgrounds come forward.  We do not all look the same and I would like to encourage victims and survivors - whatever your race or religion - to make contact with the Truth Project.”
As a support organisation or an individual, to find out more or to share your experiences, visit www.iicsa.org.uk or call 0800 917 1000.
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