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I am a 60-year-old woman who has been supported by Safeline for more than twelve years.

I was abused as a child by my father and by many other men, both at the family home and at various other locations. The abuse started as early as I can remember and lasted until I was 21. The effects of the abuse were enormous and left me with complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

At various points during my life, the strain of coping would become too much, and I would seek help. I had counselling through the NHS and Warwick University and I also paid for several years of Gestalt psychotherapy.

The most helpful, understanding, and transformative counselling though, has been from Safeline. I had a counsellor for three years between 2006-09. In 2008, I decided to report to the Police and an ISVA met with me before the police interviews and sat with me during the day and a half it took to tell my story. Having the ISVA there was a huge help, it was the first time that I had described my abuse out loud.

In 2015, I began to remember more of the abuse and again contacted Safeline. The assessor met me promptly and I was allocated two ISVAs (one to accompany me to police interviews, another to remain un-knowing of my evidence so she could support me in any court case). I was also allocated a counsellor who still supports me now.

There are many wonderful things about Safeline, the support is given by trained, professional people, who have a genuine interest in helping survivors rebuild their lives. Support is unconditional, non-judgmental and, crucially, lasts as long as the survivor needs it. The fact that the counselling and ISVA service is free, means anyone can access it.

I owe the wonderful ISVAs and counsellors a huge debt of gratitude, they have supported me through some extremely difficult times and have helped me discover that there is more to me than being a survivor. Financial support for this vital service for the people of Warwickshire will enable more people like me to discover a whole, more fulfilling life.

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