Image: Girl in a Gilded Cage by Elise Macdonald.
Well done to Surrey-based community interest company The Flying Child has been awarded three years of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, to support survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA).
Founded in 2020, the survivor-led Flying Child Project has reached more than 1,000 professionals to date, across the UK in education, social work, and healthcare settings.
The team have earned praise for improving understanding of trauma resulting from CSA and the confidence of professionals in supporting both children and adults in a trauma informed way. In a recent participant survey, 100 percent of attendees said they felt better equipped to manage a disclosure of CSA, with all likely to recommend the training to a colleague.
The new National Lottery funding will allow The Flying Child Project to continue their training, aiming to reach thousands more over the three-year period. It will also fund The Flying Child peer support and creative wellbeing groups for survivors of CSA in the local community.
The groups will consist of a 12-week therapist-led programme, co-facilitated by a lived experience support worker. In addition, creative groups for survivors will be offered, providing the opportunity to express trauma through art and writing, meet other survivors and build networks in a supportive space. Over the next three years The Flying Child aims to support 360 survivors of CSA with initial groups starting in the new year.
“As an organisation we normalise speaking about an ‘unspeakable’ subject and challenge the societal culture of silence.”
Sophie Olson, founder and managing director of The Flying Child, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant means we have a fantastic opportunity to improve outcomes for both child victims and adult survivors of CSA. As an organisation we normalise speaking about an ‘unspeakable’ subject and challenge the societal culture of silence. Lived experience in training helps to break down barriers and dispel myths that lead to victims of abuse being overlooked, and their normal reactions to trauma being misunderstood. The current statistics estimate there are 11 million adult survivors of CSA in the UK, equating to 1 in 6, yet are a large, hidden, and marginalised group, with services often not adequately trauma informed of accessible.
CSA is a devasting form of abuse with long-lasting consequences on mental and physical health, and wellbeing. Peer support groups play a vital role in the community. Because CSA is considered a taboo subject, stigma and shame silences the majority with many believing they are the only one. This is something we aim to change. This grant will make a big difference to people’s lives.”
The Flying Child encourages the local community to engage on Twitter and Instagram @flying_project, and to become survivor ‘allies’ – helping to challenge the silence surrounding CSA. Sophie Olson’s story can be heard on the BBC Radio 4 documentary The Last Taboo. For more information about the training or peer support groups, please visit theflyingchild.com.