Empower the Invisible Project (ETIP) is a peer led service for adults with lived experience of childhood sexual abuse. They support people who may not benefit from a traditional therapeutic model or who would not meet the threshold for long term Mental Health support.
ETIP has been established in West Lancashire for a number of years.
They work with a diverse range of males and females who are still finding the legacy of their trauma is affecting their lives and endeavour to empower them to find a recovery path that is based on their current circumstances as an individual. They have several volunteer recovery champions who have accessed the service and now offer their experience and time to empower others.
What Empower the Invisible offer:
Mixed and single gender peer support groups, both community and online based, (non-restrictive timescale). No upper age limit for referrals.
Ongoing 1-1 bespoke therapeutic support.
1-1 support is available during office hours, some evenings and in exceptional circumstances at weekends.
Peer support is held online via video in the evenings. Each group consists of a two hour group session one day per week giving individuals a better understanding around the legacy of childhood trauma and how to learn coping strategies for triggers, flashbacks, anxiety, suicide ideation, self-harm, mindfulness tools and how to build and sustain recovery capital.
Access to a well-established online support group with 150+ members who all have lived experience of childhood sexual abuse and additional childhood traumas which is monitored daily including during the evening and at weekends.
This service is for individuals residing in West Lancashire and the Fylde coast areas. Support is available within 7 days of ETIP receiving your referral.
You can access this service by contacting your local NHS Talking Therapies team formerly known as Minds Matter.
"Beyond lifechanging, I have not self harmed for many months now and I also go outside whereas before I just stayed at home in my room" TK
"To be with people who know what you've been through and get it is better than any mental health intervention I have ever had" JM
"If you had told me 3 months ago I wouldn't be using cannabis and alcohol to get through the day anymore I would have laughed at you but yet here I am and that's thanks to the peer group and for Rose being patient every single time I asked the same questions" HL
"You have helped me so much on this journey and I will be forever thankful. Without this group and all you guys I would still be pointing the finger and blaming people when there is no-one to blame except those who done wrong" KW
"I was at my lowest point, suicide was a realistic choice, but I found people who understand me and helped me through the darkest time of my adult life and I am genuinely happy for the first time in as long as I remember" PC
"Better than any therapy that I've ever had...and I've had a lot" AG
"What's good about Empower is the friendship and support and just knowing you can ask for help at any time helps me everyday.....I am not alone anymore" MB
"If you've been abused this is where you can get well, you can stay a week, a month or a year there's no rush and no expectations for a miraculous recovery and that takes the pressure of me to pretend I am doing ok when I'm actually not" KB
"Its ok if you take one step forward and two steps back as it's taught me hat recovery from this stuff isn't linear and doesn't follow a straight line and we all do it in different ways and different timescales and that it's ok because we are not all the same and our recovery is unique to us" AM
"I can honestly say if it wasn't for group I wouldn't be doing the stuff I am doing and I now help others which is a great feeling" KR
Beyond the Blade Lancashire Project with young people took place within the community in Preston and was successful in building relationships with children, young people and their parents. This was a project in partnership with the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioners Office and the Violence Reduction Network.
"You are both really nice and don't shout at me even when I do bad things or wind you up" boy aged 8
"Nobody has bothered checking on us in lockdown to make sure things are ok at home except you" girl aged 12
"I am glad I gave you my knife I didnt really like having it but my mates have them and I dont want to be called soft" male aged 16
"They say if you run you are a coward but if I was in any aggro now and was scared I know its ok to run away from it" boy aged 14
" My brother made me carry his knife and drugs for him because he says I am getting ready to be in his crew but I told my mum like you said and now I don't have to do that stuff anymore so I am not scared" girl aged 11
"Some old guy near us takes photos of us all the time so I am gonna tell my teacher cos my dad will just batter him and that wouldnt be right and he would go to prison and I would miss him so its best like you said to tell my teacher" boy aged 11
" Everyone carries a weapon round here its for safety innit but I never thought what could happen if someone took it off me and used it to cut me up "girl aged 17
" You promised youd come back and you have cheers mate" girl aged 12
" I proved them wrong like you said I went to school and now my grades are getting better, they (teachers) might think I am useless but you know that I'm not and I'm going to show all of them that I am good at something even when they say I'm not" boy aged 15
"I don't like being part of that crew, but I like being part of your crew its fun and you do cool stuff with us" boy aged 11
"I didn't think you would keep your promise to take us to Energi but you did so you are both sound and ok in my book" boy aged 9
"They try and pressure us to have sex with them and stuff so I've told them if they come near me or touch me I will scream and tell the feds I didnt consent, they don't ask me anymore cos they know I mean it" girl aged 14
" Things are pretty grim at home everyone is bugging each other and mum and her boyfriend are arguing more but at least we get out a few times a week to see both of you and my mates" boy aged 16/girl aged 14
" Thanks for keeping your promise and doing stuff for us and asking us what we want to do instead of deciding for us like most adults do because they think they always know best" boy aged 13
" The best bit is when you buy us all McDonalds or pizzas or open the boot of your car and we've got loads of snacks and stuff cos my mum cant afford to buy us that stuff often" boys aged 10 & 12
"This lockdown stuff is grim and it makes me scared but I'm not scared when your here which is cool" girl aged 13
More details about what we did with the Violence Reduction Network can be found here
Training can still be provided online via Zoom and we have the capacity to deliver training events for up to 80 people.
We have successfully delivered training throughout the pandemic to a number of large organisations.
All our current peer support groups have now moved to online via Zoom which is accessible using a laptop, computer or mobile phone. We are currently providing online meetings and several 1-1 sessions online and face to face where it is more beneficial for the client to do so. We also meet up regularly for socially distanced walks, where current government restrictions allow because we recognise the importance for human connection.
Access to these meetings is via a link which is available by contacting Rose.
Peer Support weekly face to face in several locations in Lancashire facilitated by Rose and Kirsty
1-1 Recovery Coaching
Virtual support groups
Unlocked - in-reach project in custodial settings
All groups are accessible to males and females we don’t run single-sex groups
Suicide Awareness short films
Carpool Recovery with those who have accessed peer support and are now thriving and inspiring others.
Beyond the Blade Lancashire: bespoke project working with young people at risk from knife crime, child sexual exploitation and county lines in hard to reach areas of Preston funded by Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with Lancashire Violence Reduction Unit.