Putting Children 1st
Children 1st supports recovery from childhood abuse and neglect
January 19th, 2016
Children 1st helps Scotland's families to put children first, with practical advice and support in difficult times. And when the worst happens, it supports survivors of abuse, neglect, and other traumatic events in childhood to recover.
Sadly, the worst happens all too often. Last year more than 19,000 abuse and neglect concerns were raised with Scotland's Children's Reporter – that equates to seven children in every school. Worse, children who've been abused or neglected often hide their feelings. On average it takes more than seven years for abuse to come to light.
Abuse and neglect leave lasting emotional scars. Recovery is possible with support, but it takes time, commitment and empathy – there are no short cuts. Children 1st supports survivors to express their feelings and make sense of their experiences. It uses art, play and drama and involves parents and carers in the healing process.
Over the past year, players have raised an amazing £575,000 for Children 1st's work. They are a crucial part of the recovery story for the almost 600 survivors across Scotland that Children 1st works with annually. One of these survivors was Millie.
"As any five-year-old would, I put my trust in my cousin because he was an adult. But he took advantage of me, and made me feel like it was all my fault. He said if I told anyone, I wouldn't be his 'special little girl anymore'.
"Over the years it had been getting worse as he was doing more stuff to me. When I was 17, one of my young cousins came to visit – I got worried about what might happen and wanted to protect her.
"I spoke to my auntie, then my mum. A few days later my mum phoned the police, and they came and interviewed me and took statements.
"It was a difficult time, and my doctor put me in touch with Children 1st. Thanks to Children 1st, I was able to confront my cousin and show him I'm in power, not him."
Of the survivors Children 1st worked with last year, 88 percent said they felt better and stronger after being supported. Children and young people supported by Children 1st have a better chance of growing up to be happy, healthy, and secure - as every child deserves.