The Diocese of Chichester is supporting the launch in Brighton and Sussex of a project to help survivors of sexual abuse come forward and tell their story.
The Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (IICSA) was established to investigate the extent to which institutions and public bodies in England and Wales have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Truth Project aims to give a voice to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, many of whom will have in the past been silenced. They are also able to make suggestions about how to prevent the same abuse happening in the future.
This is a crucial part of the Inquiry’s work; hearing from victims and survivors will allow the Inquiry to understand the nature and scale of child sexual abuse and to hear their suggestions for change.
The Truth Project has been designed in consultation with victims and survivors and their needs and wishes take priority. They are offered emotional support before, during and after their Truth Project session, they will not be contradicted or challenged and they are able to disclose as much or as little about their experiences as they feel comfortable with.
The Bishop of Horsham, Mark Sowerby has written to all licensed clergy and safeguarding officers in the diocese commending the Truth Project. He said: “It is when people come forward to tell about the abuse they have suffered, about the grooming of victims they have witnessed or about the failure of people to respond, that we shall begin to understand the truth.” His letter was read out last Sunday at parishes across the diocese.
One of those reading it out was Fr Trevor Buxton, a priest at St Martin’s Anglican Church in Brighton. He said: “The Truth Project is an important step in helping victims of abuse bring the truth to light. At St Martin’s, we have become aware that abuse has happened in Brighton in the past, as it has in many other places. It is my hope that victims who have previously suffered in silence may now feel able to tell someone else, knowing that their experience will be respected, and will get the support they may need.”
Bishop Mark's letter can be read in full here
The Inquiry would like to hear from as many people as possible. If you would like to participate in the Truth Project please visit www.truthproject.org.uk or call the information line: 0800 917 1000, which is open weekdays 8am-8pm and Saturdays 10am-12pm.
For feedback from those who have attended and more information about the Truth Project on the project’s website, please visit: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/victims-and-survivors
There is also a video which explains more about the IICSA.