Break the Silence was founded by Kate Short in 2004 following years of research.
Break the Silence is a registered charity established in October 2004, becoming a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2008. We provide a range of free and confidential support services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and rape. We support male, female and transgender people aged 16 plus, together with their partners and families.
In the 2 years prior to opening, a comprehensive study was conducted involving agencies throughout Scotland who worked with this client group. The study identified that survivors have many varied and complex issues and that a holistic service, which encompassed all of their diverse needs, was required.
We decided to offer a range of holistic services to individuals and groups. These include counselling, advocacy and other therapeutic services specifically designed to meet the needs of each individual. Participation in our craft and IT group are also offered.
A basic service was set up 3 days a week in Kilmarnock, with our first clients accessing our service in September 2005. This service was staffed for the first 2 years solely by volunteers, including survivors, who had a wide range of skills and experience including many years experience of working with survivors on a one-to-one and group basis.
Gradually, an outreach facility was set up in the Dalmellington area of East Ayrshire for survivors who had difficulty accessing our service in Kilmarnock. This proved successful and a small amount of money was secured to offer the same service in Cumnock.
Over the years, the services and reputation of Break the Silence have become widely known, not just locally but nationally, and in 2008 Break the Silence became the Ayrshire-wide partner for the In-care Survivors Service Scotland. This dedicated service was funded solely by the Scottish Government with the development worker based at Break the Silence in Kilmarnock.
In August 2009 we extended our service to North Ayrshire and are currently operating very successfully in both East & North Ayrshire. We have 5 outreach bases in North Ayrshire and 4 outreach bases in East Ayrshire. Our commitment to survivors, and the recognition from referrers of the high standards we continually strive to maintain, is reflected in an increase in the numbers of referrers and also the increased numbers of survivors accessing the service.
Training and awareness raising, to frontline workers who meet survivors in their work, is a major part of the services we offer. Break the Silence representatives regularly deliver presentations not only on our service, but on issues surrounding childhood sexual abuse and rape, to many different agencies. Our highly skilled training team work hard securing and delivering training to a whole range of organisations, including NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Social Services Child Protection Teams, voluntary agencies, and any other interested parties. This is part of our income generation. Evaluations are always excellent with many participants requesting more training.
Volunteering opportunities for clients are available within the organisation and include involvement in our training delivery, office admin, etc.