Sex-abuse support group in award hope

A CHARITABLE support group in Scarborough has been nominated for a national award which recognises excellence in the criminal justice system.

HOPE (Healing Our Past Experiences), based in Northway, will represent North Yorkshire at The Justice Awards held tomorrow in London.

Volunteer service manager Pauline Carruthers has also been chosen as one of three individual finalists nominated as going beyond the call of duty in supporting victims of crime.

She said: “I feel very humbled to be in the final three. But to me it is just my job.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for HOPE, Scarborough and North Yorkshire.”

The finalists were picked by a panel of judges closely connected with the Home Office.

HOPE was formed by survivors of sexual abuse to assist and counsel victims of sexual abuse. It is governed and run by volunteers. The charity provides support and practical help via counselling.

The organisation is currently working alongside BBC soap EastEnders in helping counsel those people who may have been affected by the soap’s storyline about a 15-year-old-girl who is being sexually groomed by a paedophile.

Character Tony, boy-friend of Bianca, has been shown passionately kissing schoolgirl character Whitney – Bianca’s step daughter – in what has been dubbed one of the most controversial storylines ever on the show

HOPE now offers a number of new support groups and training courses.

The centre is currently running training for professionals and volunteers to work with people who were sexually abused. The course “The Aftermath” Level 1 and 2 has been written by tutor Denise Alcock, and has now been accredited by Hull University.

She is now writing Level 3. The course concentrates on training to examine the often complicated issues and themes that emerge through a victim’s recovery.

Future training courses also include, a basic sexual abuse awareness course for survivors, supporters and any other interested individuals, and a “Being Aware” course for parents, guardians and those who work with children.

The Phoenix Centre, which is linked to HOPE, is also offering training courses, workshops and groups. Some of these can be attended by those who are not sexual abuse survivors.

Groups include help for those suffering from depression, self harm, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic and anxiety.

And workshops are designed to meet the needs of anyone working with or supporting people who have suffered from emotional problems and/or any type of sexual abuse.

For more information contact Pauline Carruthers on (01723) 381811.