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Within ICSSS we offer a range of groups depending on the needs of those who are accessing the service. At present we have a writers group and we have previously run an art group which could take place again. If enough people are interested we can run therapeutic groups where people have the chance to come together to explore their feelings.

We offer Service User Groups where there is demand. Currently we have a Service User Group in Forth Valley. 

In Care Survivors Service Scotland
Service Users Group
Facilitator: Cath Taylor

The service user group began on 26th of August 2009 and group members have been meeting together in the Stirling office each week to work on various issues of relevance to in care survivors.

The group has been facilitated by Cath Taylor (development worker for Forth Valley) and there has also been an input from our ICSSS manager Janine Rennie.

The main core of the group has consisted of five service users who all have some experience of in care abuse and have already been accessing a service from us on an individual basis. Most group members have had the opportunity to work through much of their own processes in their individual therapy, and had expressed their readiness to be part of a group.  

The dynamics and energy within this group have been very powerful, and once clear ground rules, including confidentiality were established, it wasn’t long before some exciting ideas about the main purpose and direction of the group were expressed.

Sessions have included ‘Assertiveness Training’, ‘Coping Strategies’, , ‘Researching and meeting with the director of the Sexual Abuse Prevention Programme ‘Feel Think Do’, ‘Working therapeutically with clay’ and we will be meeting with a Social Services / Cedar Project coordinator to gain further knowledge and understanding of some of the procedures relevant to children and families. We are making arrangements to meet with the Head of Care and Support from the Scottish Government to voice opinions and concerns about childhood abuse and social awareness of these issues. The group have also contributed to the Government Consultation for the Review of the ’98 Child Protection Guidelines for Historic Abuse.

One of the main objectives of this group has been to produce a dvd containing some personal perspectives of childhood experiences. The hope is that these can help to illuminate the need for further measures to be taken in childhood sexual abuse prevention. It has become clear throughout the relatively short life of the group that these survivors want to make a difference within society; raising awareness of childhood abuse and making children’s experiences safer and happier.

Although we are coming to the end or our agreed 12 week block, we have recognised the need for further sessions perhaps after a short break, in order to continue with our work.
Group members have expressed how positively they feel about the group and the importance of working together with fellow survivors towards their objectives.

Here are some of the group’s comments so far:

“After a few weeks I felt we had gelled as a group and had the same aim, which was to make more awareness within society of sexual abuse or any kind of childhood abuse. I feel really positive that we can make a difference. Maybe I have now found the reason why it happened to me .... to make things better for children so they don’t suffer in silence.”

“I have found the group enlightening in the fact that I knew of my husband’s experiences but learned of other people’s. I have also found it helpful as I’m not a survivor, but I have had to live through all his experiences which can be stressful to family and partners.  It’s the so-called ‘ripple effect’ and we need to be heard as well.”

“The group members are able to challenge my negative thoughts and beliefs. This has raised my self confidence and I’m putting myself first sometimes.”

“I hope this group goes from strength to strength and I believe that every member at present and in the future will enhance the chances of abuse survivors becoming more at peace with themselves.”