Currently, when a child or young person discloses sexual abuse, they and their families are often left to navigate the health, police and courts system by themselves. Children and young people can be asked many times by different professionals to talk about their abuse. This can make them relive the abuse and feel re-traumatised. Only 1 in 4 children and young people who report sexual abuse to the police in London receive emotional and health support (London Review of CSA pathway, 2015). And the ones that do may have to wait months for the important therapy and support they need. But, we know that up to 8 in 10 adolescents who experienced sexual abuse developed mental health problems within five months (Khadr et al, 2018). At The Lighthouse we provide a safe place for children and young people to recover from abuse at their own pace and get the justice they deserve to rebuild their lives.
We focus on getting children and young people the right help at the right time, by putting all the services needed to respond to sexual abuse under one roof. Medical, advocacy, social care, police, and therapeutic support will be delivered from one place, providing a coordinated approach to supporting children and young people.
An advocate guides children and their families through their journey towards recovery. This helps make sure they receive all the support they need easily and quickly. The advocate also supports children and young people through the court process.
A play therapist helps children and young people prepare for the medical assessments with the paediatrician who is supported by a nurse. The child or young person can be seen alone or with a parent, carer or trusted adult.
At The Lighthouse a clinical psychologist can conduct the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interview, with support from a police officer. By putting the young person’s emotional needs first we can help reduce re-traumatisation and gather the best evidence.
Early and long-term support is offered through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the NSPCC’s Letting the Future In (LTFI) and Protect and Respect services. This additional emotional support and therapy helps children and young people to recover.
Two police liaison officers and two social care liaison officers act as links, offering advice and liaison to local police, children’s social care services and MASH teams (multi-agency safeguarding hubs). We make sure all this support is in one familiar and child-friendly place, The Lighthouse.